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Messi, Scaloni, De Paul… Who is to blame for Argentina’s defeat against Saudi Arabia?

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The Qatar 2022 World Cup already has its first big surprise and Saudi Arabia’s victory against Argentina will be forever remembered in the history of World Cups. Leo Messi‘s heavily favored Argentina did not get off to a good start and will have to react against Mexico and Poland to avoid a historic shock.

Soccer is so great because of things like what we experienced in Argentina‘s opening match in Qatar. Saudi Arabia managed a sudden comeback in the second half, unsettling Argentina with an effective plan and a spectacular defensive display that blunted all of Argentina‘s stars.

Argentina came into this match with a 36-game unbeaten streak, which was blown out of the water in a surprising way. Despite Leo Messi‘s early goal, goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari turned the scoreline around.

Several players are singled out for Argentina‘s defeat. The defensive line did not work properly, with Cuti Romero and Nicolas Otamendi allowing those two shots which Emi Martinez could do nothing about.

However, there is one player who did not contribute what was expected in midfield. We are talking about Rodrigo De Paul, who was reminiscent of the most discreet version seen at Atletico Madrid. His numbers say it all in the match: 0 shots on goal, 0 completed dribbles, 0 successful crosses, 0 fouls caused, 0 key passes, 3/10 long balls, 23 turnovers and 61/81 successful passes (75 percent success).

Scaloni’s changes had no effect for Argentina

Lionel Scaloni, who seemed to have the critics on his side, is not in a good place either, but they will be on his back after this unexpected defeat.

Despite De Paul‘s numbers, he decided to keep him on the field. And he only reacted with a triple change after they fell behind, with Lisandro Martínez, Enzo Fernandez and Julian Alvarez coming on for Leandro Pardes, Papu Gomez and Romero. Later, 20 minutes from the end, Acuna came on in place of Tagliafico.

Everything was insufficient. Me…

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