Argentina Player Ratings vs Saudi Arabia: Messi Loses Opener

Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten run came to an astonishing end in their World Cup Group C opener as they suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia. Lionel Messi and co. were left shell shocked after Herve Renaud’s team pulled off an unbelievable victory, coming from a goal down at half time to win 2-1. There was a brilliant atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, with the Green Falcons’ faithful making the short trip to Qatar, but it ends in disappointment for Argentina and they now have a lot of work to do in their remaining group matches. Here’s our Argentina player ratings.

Argentina (4-2-3-1):

Emiliano Martinez – 4

Had little to do throughout but did nothing to stop the Saudi Arabia goals, only being able to get a hand to Salem Al Dawsari’s finish.

Nahuel Molina – 5

Pushed on at times to help support the attack but it was not a good performance here.

Cristian Romero – 5

Got beaten by Saleh Al Shehri for the first goal and had been carrying an injury heading into the game. Subbed off for Lisandro Martinez just before hour mark.

Nicolas Otamendi – 6

Accurate in distribution and solid defensively in the first half but could do nothing to stop the Green Falcons in the second.

Nicolas Tagliafico – 5

Not involved too much and pinned back a lot due to the high line by the Saudis. Struggled to make an impact going forward too. Replaced by Marcos Acuna in the second half.

Rodrigo de Paul – 6

Made a couple of decent challenges in the midfield and also drew a couple of fouls in the first half but was also a little clumsy and sloppy in possession.

Leandro Paredes – 6.5

Battled in the midfield and was able to make a couple of tackles. Made a few key forward passes from the midfield and also kept the tempo up in the midfield, retaining possession well. However, was subbed off for Enzo Fernandez less than 15 minutes into the second half.

Angel Di Maria – 5

Threatened at times over on the right, looking to cut in on his favored left foot. Struggled to make much impact early on and did play a couple of tidy and intricate passes throughout but underwhelmed overall. Was disappointing when it really mattered late on too.

Lionel Messi – 6.5

Could have and should have scored early on but didn’t apply a good enough finish. Stood up to take a penalty shortly after and converted from the spot with ease to open Arentina’s account at the tournament. Sat in the middle, trying to dictate play but did give away possession a little cheaply at points. Not the best of openers for Messi.

Papu Gomez – 5

Intricate in phases but made little impact on the match overall. Was able to draw a few fouls here and there but was subbed off for Julian Alvarez in the second half.

Lautaro Martinez – 5.5

Thought he had put Argentina two ahead with an excellent chipped finish over goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais but it was ruled out for offside. Also had a second goal disallowed for offside and struggled to hold his line. Didn’t do enough for Lionel Scaloni’s side here.


Lisandro Martinez – 6

Good in possession when he came on but that was about it.

Enzo Fernandez – 6

Looked solid when he came on but didn’t make too much of an impact.

Julian Alvarez – N/A

Marcos Acuna – N/A