World Cup

World Cup Day 3 roundup: Argentina shocked by Saudi Arabia; France thrash Australia; Lewandowski woe

Toby Cudworth
Lionel Messi and Argentina on wrong end of a huge World Cup shock
Lionel Messi and Argentina on wrong end of a huge World Cup shock / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
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Day three of the 2022 World Cup is in the books and it is one that will likely never be forgotten.

While the world settled down to watch what we all presumed would be Argentina comfortably steamrollering Saudi Arabia, what we got instead was arguably the biggest shock in World Cup history.

The defending champions France had no such worries, although they did have to come back from a goal down to get their title defence off to a winning start.

Lionel Messi and the rest of the top Argentina stars could at least console themselves that they were not the only big names to have a shocker. Robert Lewandowski had a rough one too as Poland locked horns with Mexico.

For fans of VAR drama, Denmark and Tunisia served up a bit of a treat.

Here is how day three of the World Cup went.

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

Pre-tournament favourites Argentina endured the worst possible start to their World Cup campaign as their 36-game unbeaten run came to an end with a deserved 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Lionel Messi's penalty inside the first ten minutes looked to have sent Argentina on their way, particularly when they then had three goals ruled out for offside before half-time.

But Argentina were stunned after the interval as Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari bagged two quickfire goals for Saudi Arabia after the break, and it was a lead they would not relinquish.

Salem Al-Dawsari
Saudi Arabia's delight was evident after Salem Al-Dawsari's goal / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

How did Argentina slip to defeat?

Argentina were cruising at half-time and could conceivably have been 4-0 ahead had Messi and Lautaro Martinez not wandered into offside positions before scoring their goals.

They were the dominant force on the ball, had all the territory and Saudi Arabia were playing a dangerously high defensive line that was asking for trouble.

But whatever Herve Renard said to his Saudi Arabia players at the break completely changed the dynamic of the game, and they looked like a completely different side. In contrast, Argentina showed some of their old defensive fragility and the problems that have dogged them at this famous old tournament in years gone by reared their ugly heads once more.

Salem Al-Dawsari
Saudi Arabia swarm the goalscorer Salem Al-Dawsari / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

Saleh Al-Shehri's equaliser was smartly taken, firing past Emi Martinez from an angle, but it was a real moment of class from Salem Al-Dawsari that handed Saudi Arabia the lead. He plucked the ball out of the sky, spun away from two Argentina defenders, jinked past another and then unleashed an unstoppable curling effort into the top corner.

Argentina pressured thereafter but they didn't ever create anything really clear cut - Messi dropping deeper and deeper as the game wore on in a desperate attempt to break Saudi Arabia down. He couldn't and neither could his teammates, causing one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history.


Denmark 0-0 Tunisia

A superb stop from Kasper Schmeichel to deny Issam Jebali
A superb stop from Kasper Schmeichel to deny Issam Jebali / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Dark horses Denmark were frustrated in their opening World Cup encounter, drawing 0-0 with Tunisia in the second game of the day.

Both sides went agonisingly close; Issam Jebali's close-range dink superbly tipped wide by the sprawling Kasper Schmeichel, while Andreas Cornelius hit the post from two yards out.

The Danes were denied a stoppage-time penalty despite a VAR check and will have to settle for a point.


How did Tunisia hold Denmark?

Though there weren't any goals, this was an encounter full of full-blooded defending and hard running.

Tunisia had the better of the chances in the first half, but tired in the second and were nearly caught out by Kasper Hjulmand's side on a number of occasions.

Nevertheless, the north African side were good value for their point.


Mexico 0-0 Poland

Mexico and Poland's bids to take advantage of Argentina's slip-up against Saudi Arabia were dented by a 0-0 draw at Stadium 974.

There was a tremendous atmosphere throughout the game as the Mexican fans lit up the 40,000 capacity stadium made up of recycled shipping containers - but Hirving Lozano and co couldn't reward their adoring following with three Group C points despite dominating for large parts.

Poland had the best chance of the game but Robert Lewandowski, without a World Cup goal during his illustrious career, blew his opportunity from the penalty spot; Guillermo Ochoa making a fine save down low to his left.

Guillermo Ochoa denied Robert Lewandowski from the spot
Guillermo Ochoa denied Robert Lewandowski from the spot / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

How does Ochoa keep doing it?

That's the question many will ask about Mexico's hero of the hour, Guillermo Ochoa.

37 years young he may be but Ochoa stepped up to the plate when his country needed him the most, following a rather dodgy penalty award. Not only did he save a penalty on the biggest stage in world football, he kept at bay one of the world's great strikers, Robert Lewandowski.

For Lewandowski, the wait goes on a first World Cup goal, and Poland will need to do far more from open play if he's to break that duck between now and the end of the group stages. On paper they have a very handy side, but must step things up if they're to have a chance of making the knockout stages for the first time since 1986.

Indeed, failure to win here was the eighth time in nine World Cup outings that Poland have failed to win their first game.


France 4-1 Australia

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud now level with Thierry Henry / Clive Mason/GettyImages

France are no strangers to the odd implosion or two, but they were in ruthless mood as they started their World Cup defence against Australia.

They had to work for it, though, for a while at least. Craig Goodwin stylishly fired the Aussies into an early lead, and the champions looks vulnerable at that stage. However, as soon as they got a grip on themselves they dominated procedings.

Adrien Rabiot, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud (2) grabbed the goals, with the latter also taking a slice of history in the process. Giroud is now the joint top scorer for France and it looks just a matter of time before the takes the record outright.

One bad piece of news for France was that they lost Lucas Hernandez to what appears to be a serious knee injury.

Top goalscorers for France (all time)

  • Olivier Giroud 51 (115 caps)
  • Thierry Henry 51 (123 caps)
  • Antoine Griezmann 42 (109)
  • Michel Platini 41 (72)
  • Karim Benzema 37 (97)

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