Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia. Another scoreline nobody saw coming. The Saudis took their chances and their high defensive line gamble paid off with Argentina unable to adapt and becoming increasingly flustered as the game went on. They lost 1-0 to Cameroon in 1990 and still made the final so they’ll feel they can dust themselves off and go again but it’s a huge blow for one of the pre-tournament favourites.
It’s always impossible to try to accurately rank upsets/matches from different eras but according to Nielsen Gracenote, statistically this is the World Cup’s greatest upset.
I personally think USA 1-0 England in 1950 remains the biggest upset – or perhaps the biggest shock – given that the American time was fully amateur and tournament favourites England – even without Stanley Matthews in the side – were one of the world’s best sides.
Deciding to rest him on that day, keeping him back for later matches, in an era where no substitutes were allowed, must rank as one of the biggest selection howlers ever – in any sport or competition. At least Lionel Messi had a chance – more than one, in fact – to salvage at least a point against Saudi Arabia. Matthews had to watch from the bench!
A couple of goalless draws in the middle of the day means Denmark, Mexico, Poland and Tunisia are all off the mark in terms of points as Robert Lewandowski’s wait for a World Cup goal goes on. It wasn’t a great early part of the day for past and current Barcelona forwards!
Olivier Giroud will have happy memories though as his brace against Australia took him level with Thierry Henry on France’s all-time international scoring charts and guided France to a comfortable 4-1 win. They wobbled early as Australia took the lead but there was to be no repeat of their 2002 defeat to Senegal as they moved through the gears later on. No Pogba, no Benzema, no Kante, but so far no real problems – aside from an injury to Lucas Hernandez – for Les Bleus.