Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez dissected their 2-1 loss against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage clash on November 22.
The Argentines took the lead via a 10th-minute penalty from Lionel Messi. They put the ball in the back of the net thrice after that in the first half, but all three were rightly ruled out for offside.
Two of those finishes came from Martinez, who seemed in sublime form in the first 45 minutes of the game.
Saudi Arabia’s high line, while a risky tactic against a pacey Argentina tactic, worked to good effect. Manager Herve Renard’s side came into the second half with a determination to get something out of the game, which they did. Two goals within the first eight minutes of the half were enough to hand the Saudis an iconic World Cup win.
The VAR image that ruled out Lautaro Martínez’s goal for offside
Speaking after the full-time whistle, Martinez stated that the Argentina team were to blame for the result. Cristian Romero was late to tackle Saleh Al-Shehri for the opening Saudi goal.
Meanwhile, the defense let the ball bobble around in the box. As a result, Salem Al-Dawsari scored from a long-range effort that Emiliano Martinez got a faint hand on.
The Inter Milan striker said (h/t official Argentina Twitter):
“We lost the game due to our mistakes, more than anything in the second half. There are details that make the difference and we must correct mistakes. In the first half we should have scored more than one goal, but this is a World Cup and now we have two finals left.”
“This hurts a lot. We had a great hope of starting the World Cup winning. But this is over and now we must train and think about what’s to come.”
La Albiceleste take on Mexico on November 26 before playing their final Group C game against Poland.
Argentina must pick themselves up after 2022 FIFA World Cup defeat to Saudi Arabia
The South American giants’ loss against Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean they are out of the running to qualify for the knockout stages.
SPAIN 0 – 1 SWITZERLAND (2010)
FRANCE 0 – 0 DENMARK (2018)
SAUDI ARABIA 2 – 1 ARGENTINA
They still have Mexico and Poland to play against, two teams they are expected to overpower. Their fans will be eager to avoid France in the last 16 of the competition.
The winners of Group C will face the runners-up in Group D and vice versa. Denmark, Tunisia, and Australia are the other three teams with Les Bleus in Group D. There is no doubt Argentina will want to face either one of those three over France.
However, at this rate, qualification will be their primary aim rather than worrying about permutations and combinations of the knockout stages.
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