The World Cup has a shocking World Cup story and this time it concerns the football. It began with Lionel Messi creating another record for Argentina and ended with the superstar staring disconsolately into the middle distance after Saudi Arabia staged a stunning upset to end the Copa América holders’ 36-game unbeaten run.
A stupendous strike from Salem al-Dawsari, moments after Saleh al-Shehri had cancelled out Messi’s early penalty, brought Saudi Arabia a victory that left the Lusail Stadium buzzing with an audible sense of disbelief long after the final whistle. The Saudi Arabia bench poured on to the pitch when the Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic finally ended their torment after eight long minutes of stoppage time. The captain, Salman al-Faraj, helped off injured in the first half, hobbled back on with crutches to join the wild celebrations.