Footy Times

Argentina’s Way Forward

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Argentina found themselves in a difficult situation after their opening-day defeat to an excellent Saudi Arabian side in the Fifa World Cup 2022. However, qualification is still possible for La Albiceleste if they can find a result in their remaining matches in group C. Argentina currently sit bottom of the group.

Lionel Messi and co came into the tournament with huge expectations after being crowned as the Copa America champion in 2021. The team was never short of confidence as they were on an unbeaten run of 36 games. Avoiding defeat in their next match could take that run to equal the record set by Italy. Unfortunately, standing in their way was a resilient Saudi Arabian side, led by Hervé Renard.

The defeat against Saudi was an instant shock for Argentina and now they are going again searching for winning ways.

Argentina started the game well with Lionel Messi converting the penalty which was awarded inside the opening ten minutes of the game. The South American side found the back of the net thrice in the first half but was ruled out due to an offside in the buildup. But they were given a huge blow early in the second half when striker Saleh Alshehri and top scorer Salem Aldawsari gave the Saudis a well-earned lead.

Argentina wasn’t clinical in front of the goal and thus failed to find the back of the net on certain occasions. They had 15 attempts on goal and 6 of them were on target. While their opponents just had a total of 3 shots throughout the whole match. In addition, Scaloni couldn’t find balance with the squad. There were too many feet players and no runners in behind.

Saudi Arabia deserves a lot of credit, their defensive structure and willingness to press played a massive role in the win. The green falcons took a huge risk in playing a high line in defence against one of the deadliest attacking forces in International football. The reward was well worth it and was a crucial part of the win. Argentina had more offsides in the first half versus Saudi Arabia than they did in all of the 2018 World Cup.

Even though losing their opening match of the campaign, Lionel Scaloni’s men can still progress into the round of 16. The pressure of the unbeaten streak is now gone and would benefit the team in different ways. The South American side next faces Mexico on November 27 and then takes on Poland on December 1.


Argentina needs to win the next two games in order to give themselves the best possible chance of advancing. On the other hand, a draw and a win would leave them at four points, which means they would need to depend on other results in order to progress. Losing any remaining matches could see a group-stage exit for Argentina for the first time since 2002 and the seventh time in their history.

Argentina will take on Poland and Mexico in the remaining group stage matches (Image: Outlook)

Julian Alvarez should be a candidate for the starting eleven spot against Mexico. The Manchester City forward was the missing piece for Lionel Scaloni in the first half against Saudi Arabia. So many near misses on crosses and all the offsides decisions, which on another day could’ve converted in with the Argentine number 9 offering great runs in behind. Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez and Sevilla fullback Marcos Acuña will also be in contention to start for La Albiceleste.

Lionel Messi will be a key figure for Scaloni’s men for their remaining group fixtures. The former Barcelona superstar has 6 goals in his last 7 World Cup group games. Furthermore, he became the first Argentine to score in 4 World Cups after finding the back of the net on Tuesday.

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