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Aston Villa's Emi Martinez suffers shock defeat in Argentina's World Cup opener with Saudi Arabia

Emi Martinez had a World Cup debut to forget as Saudi Arabia upset the odds to come from behind and beat Argentina in Qatar.


              
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, Lionel Messi and team-mates appear dejected after the FIFA World Cup Group C match at the Lusail Stadium, Qatar. Picture date: Tuesday November 22, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP Argentina. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire.


RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no 
commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, Lionel Messi and team-mates appear dejected after the FIFA World Cup Group C match at the Lusail Stadium, Qatar. Picture date: Tuesday November 22, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP Argentina. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

Ranked 51st in the world, Saudi Arabia upset the odds with a second half comeback and held on despite late pressure to pull off what will go down as one of the biggest World Cup shocks in history.

The two time winners went into the game as huge favourites - and for Aston Villa keeper Martinez it was a debut at a World Cup having made his international bow back in 2021.

And it was all going smoothly in the first period as Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the spot.

It could have been done and dusted by half time with Argentina having three goals ruled out for offside - but after the break the underdogs came out firing and in a stunning ten minute period flipped the game on its head.

Saleh Al-Shehri levelled with a low effort past Martinez before Salem Al Dawsari fired them ahead to sparking wild scenes in the stands and on the touchline.

Argentina pushed hard late in the game - but the Green Falcons put their bodies on the line to hold out against the pre-tournament favourites who came to Qatar on the back of a 36 unbeaten run.

Martinez and Argentina are back in action on Saturday against Mexico - while Saudi Arabia take on Poland.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Argentina's goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez sing the national anthem prior to the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko).
Argentina players pose for group photo prior to the start of the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno).
Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari, center, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno).

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