Qatar World Cup: Saudi Arabia stun Argentina; Denmark and Poland draw; France beat Australia

Argentina 1—2 Saudi Arabia

  • One of the biggest World Cup shocks as Saudi Arabia beat two-time winners Argentina.
  • Goals from Al Shehri and Al Dawsari put them 2-1 up in the second half.
  • Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi had given Argentina the lead with a first-half penalty.
  • The match brings back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over then-World Cup champions Argentina in the 1990 World Cup.

Denmark 0—0 Tunisia

  • Denmark and Tunisia play out a 0-0 draw.
  • Tunisia had created the majority of the chances, while Denmark were denied a penalty in the closing stages.
  • The match saw Christian Eriksen make his return to a major football tournament after collapsing and receiving CPR during a Euro 2020 game against Finland.

Mexico 0—0 Poland

  • Mexico and Poland also played out a goalless draw at Stadium 974 in Doha, in an intense match that proved to be exactly the very close affair it had been tipped to be.
  • The match sprang to life early in the second when Poland talisman Robert Lewandowski was brought down in the box, only to miss the resulting penalty as Mexico’s 37-year-old goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa plunged to the left to save.
  • It left Lewandowski still looking to score his first goal at a World Cup. The Barcelona striker is a world-class threat, however, having scored nine goals with four assists in the qualifiers, and his 13 direct-goal involvements were twice as many as any teammate.
  • Mexico are playing in a seventh successive World Cup, with each of those campaigns having come to an end in the round of 16 stages.

Australia 1—4 France

  • France beat Australia 4-1.
  • While the “Socceroos'” Craig Goodwin scored the first goal of the match, the French eventually emerged triumphant, with two goals from AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud, the other two from Juventus player Adrien Rabiot and Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappé.
  • Just like at the 2018 World Cup — which France eventually won — Les Bleus kicked off their group stage with a game against Australia.
  • France is the world’s third most-valuable team, estimated to €1.34 billion for its squad. Forward Kylian Mbappé, who was one of the 2018 tournament’s breakout stars, is their top player with a value of 185 million euros.

What happened at the World Cup on Monday?

England thumped Iran 6-2 following two goals from Arsenal winger Bakayo Saka and one from Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham, Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, and Manchester City’s Jack Grealish.

Iran’s Mehdi Taremi, a striker for Porto, scored two goals, while goalkeeper Beyranvand was taken off after suffering a head injury. His replacement then conceded three first-half goals.

The Netherlands came out on top 2-0 against Senegal with two late second-half goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen, who scored deep into stoppage time. Both teams are without their key players for the tournament, Memphis Depay and Sadio Mane.

USA and Wales tied 1-1. The former obtained a goal from by Lille winger Timothy Weah in the first half, and the latter saw one scored by veteran striker and Los Angeles FC player Gareth Bale in the penalties.

What are the key talking points so far?

The Iran team declined to sing the country’s national anthem before kick-off, in a gesture seen as a show of support for the anti-government protest movement at home, which has been severely repressed by the authorities.

England was among seven European teams — along with Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark — to say their captains would not be wearing “One Love” armbands to show support for the LGBT community after FIFA threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing one in Qatar, where homosexuality remains illegal.

National football associations said they were “frustrated” by the “unprecedented” action by FIFA, saying in a joint statement “we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings”.

Wales has made its first World Cup appearance in 64 years. With a population of just over three million, Wales is the smallest FIFA member nation to qualify for this year’s World Cup — host Qatar received an automatic berth.

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