Argentina player ratings vs Saudi Arabia: Lionel Messi struggles as Cristian Romero hauled off

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia pull off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history as Argentina, one of the pre-tournament favourites, were beaten in their opening game.

Here’s how Malik Ouzia rated Argentina at Lusail Stadium...

Emi Martinez 5

Beaten by the only two decent shots he faced but the first was a fine finish and did well to even get a hand to Al Dawsari stunner.

Nahuel Molina 5

One stunning cross that flashed across goal begging for a touch.

Nicolas Otamendi 5

At 34, picked ahead of Lisandro Martinez but did a decent impression with some excellent covering work in the first-half. Hesitant in build-up to Saudi opener, though.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Cristian Romero 3

Sat out Tottenham’s last few Premier League games to be fit for this but looked rusty for it. Beaten far too easily for Saleh Al-Shehri’s equaliser and subbed before the hour.

Nicolas Tagliafico 6

The more adventurous of Argentina’s full-backs, saw instinctive effort brilliantly saved at 2-1.

Rodrigo De Paul 5

Fortunate not to be punished with sloppy concessions on a couple of occasions and blazed over when well-placed before half-time.

Leandro Paredes 4

Like his partner, looked surprised by intensity of Saudi press. Could not hold back the tide as Saudi confidence grew after equaliser. Subbed.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Angel Di Maria 5

Pretty average in the first half, then seemed to get hurt during a wonderful dribble moments into the second. Shook it off through and drive did cause problems.

Papu Gomez 6

Fine pass for Martinez’s first disallowed effort but was inconsistent with decision-making. Subbed.

Lionel Messi 6

Took less than ten minutes of his fifth World Cup to open his account and become the first Argentine to score at four tournaments. Also scored one of three first-half disallowed goals.

Created Di Maria chance with brilliant through-ball as he tried to lead resurgence, but headed tamely at ‘keeper when found by same player’s cross.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Lautaro Martinez 6

Had the ball in the net twice but both were chalked off, one for a tight offside call and the other for a needless one. Faded badly after half-time.


Lisandro Martinez (Romero 59’)

Julian Alvarez (Gomez 59’)

Enzo Fernandez (Paredes 59’)

Marcos Acuna (Tagliafico 70’)

Unused: Armani, Foyth, Montial, Pezzella, Rulli, Palacios, Correa, Almada, Rodriguez, Mac Allister, Dybala.