Messi opened the scoring for the South American nation from the penalty spot after a highly contentious spot-kick decision before Argentina had the ball in the net three more times – but on each occasion saw their celebrations cut short by offside decisions.
Quickfire goals from Salah Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari at the start of the second half turned the game on its head as Saudi Arabia scored with each of their only two shots on target throughout the match and Argentina entirely lost their composure.
Messi added that there could be no excuse from his side despite scoring three goals that were ruled out for offside: “I saw that the offsides were very fair. I didn’t see them through images, but if they were annulled, they would be the right decisions. There is no excuse.”
Speaking of their opponents, Messi continued: “We knew that it was a team that if we let them play, they played well and that they pushed us a lot with their high (defensive) line.”
The PSG superstar concluded: “I had never suffered such a hard blow with this group of players. Things happen for a reason. Now, obviously, we have to win or win (to get through the group).”
Argentina’s defeat will go down as one of the biggest shocks in the history of the World Cup and on a par with Argentina’s defeat by Cameroon in their opening clash of the 1990 World Cup. Saudi Arabia had gone 14 matches in the tournament without winning between 1994 and 2018, before defeating Egypt in a group-stage clash.
Argentina had entered the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy and had been 36 matches unbeaten – a run which saw them lift the Copa America title last year. However, they now have no further room for error if they are to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup.