Denmark vs Tunisia LIVE: World Cup 2022 latest score, goals and updates as Christian Eriksen makes emotional return

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Denmark and Tunisia meet in Group D of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar today.

Last summer Denmark made a stirring run to the semi-finals of the Euros, somehow absorbing the shock of Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in the group stage and going on to record one of their best performances at a major tournament. Now, at the Qatar World Cup almost 18 months later, Kasper Hjulmand’s team will look to replicate that remarkable effort.

First up for the Danes is a Group D clash with Tunisia, who will likely be vying with Denmark for the second-place spot in this pool. Elsewhere in the group, France are out to avoid the recent curse of defending champions exiting the next edition of the World Cup in the group stage, and their talented squad is expected to do that and qualify first here. With Australia not fancied to do much in Qatar, this game between Denmark and Tunisia could therefore be decisive in Group D.

The winner may just set themselves up to advance to the knockout stages at the other team’s expense, while a draw would make for an interesting dynamic in the group ahead of the next two matchdays.

Follow all the action with our live blog below:

Denmark vs Tunisia latest updates

  • Denmark take on Tunisia in the opening game of Group D at the Qatar World Cup

  • Christian Eriksen returns to the World Cup for the first time since his cardiac arrest

  • Denmark are tipped as dark horses by many people

Denmark 0 - 0 Tunisia

Denmark vs Tunisia

13:03 , Kieran Jackson

2 mins: Bright start for Denmark who move quickly forward and win an early corner...

Christian Eriksen over it, but it’s headed clear by the Tunisian defence, and the Manchester United midfielder is then cleaned out by Tunisia’s Aïssa Laïdouni - who celebrates the tackle like he’s scored!

Could be another fesity one!

Denmark vs Tunisia

13:00 , Kieran Jackson

KICK-OFF! We’re underway with our second game of the day!

Denmark in their traditional dark red strip, with Tunisia in white.

Denmark vs Tunisia

12:58 , Kieran Jackson

A reminder of the teams at the Education City Stadium this afternoon!

Denmark XI: Schmeichel; Andersen, Kjaer, Christensen, Kristensen, Maehle; Hojbjerg, Delaney, Eriksen; Olsen, Dolberg.

Tunisia XI: Dahmen, Abdi, Talbi, Meriah, Bronn, Draeger, Laidouni, Skhiri, Slimane, Msakni, Jembali

Denmark vs Tunisia

12:55 , Kieran Jackson

The teams are out at the Education City Stadium - time now for the national anthems! Denmark’s first...

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Denmark vs Tunisia

12:52 , Kieran Jackson

Christian Eriksen in the starting XI less than 18 months since he suffered a cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game of Euro 2020.

A great sight for all involved to see the Manchester United midfielder on the pitch in Qatar!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Denmark vs Tunisia - TEAM NEWS

12:49 , Kieran Jackson

Denmark XI: Schmeichel; Andersen, Kjaer, Christensen, Kristensen, Maehle; Hojbjerg, Delaney, Eriksen; Olsen, Dolberg.

Tunisia XI: Dahmen, Abdi, Talbi, Meriah, Bronn, Draeger, Laidouni, Skhiri, Slimane, Msakni, Jembali

Denmark vs Tunisia...

12:48 , Kieran Jackson

Now we turn our attention to the second game today - a clash between Group D between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium!

Team news coming up!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia match report:

12:36 , Kieran Jackson

Miguel Delaney, at the Lusail Iconic Stadium:

A moment of authenticity in this tournament, yet one that seemed to defy reality.

This World Cup has had its first classic shock, and maybe one of its biggest of all. An utterly stunned Argentina lost for the first time in 36 games, to an admirably adventurous Saudi Arabia, driven on by a raucous atmosphere. Manager Herve Renard pulled off another incredible feat.

The fact they came from behind to win 2-1 only emphasised their spirit and resolve, and showed how even the most problematic World Cup is still driven by human sporting qualities. That is what Qatar are trying to buy.

A further irony is that is what their complicated political rivals in Saudi Arabia will now use. What a venue for their greatest ever World Cup victory, in the host’s prize stadium, not long after the Gulf blockade was lifted.And yet whatever about how the state will use this, this was the classically sporting story of footballers rising to greater levels, driven on by fans.

Saudi Arabia defy reality to stun Argentina with enormous World Cup shock

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia player ratings:

12:27 , Kieran Jackson

Argentina suffered one of the greatest World Cup shocks of all time as they went down 2-1 to underdogs Saudi Arabia in Qatar.

The South American side were one of the pre-tournament favourites but endured the worst possible start to Lionel Messi’s quest to finally get a World Cup winners medal with a stunning loss.

Messi scored from the penalty spot early on but Saleh Al-Shehri squeezed in a low shot in the 48th minute while Salem Al-Dawsari curled in a scorching strike from the edge of the penalty area in the 53rd minute to leave Argentina looking utterly shell-shocked

Despite plenty of possession after that, Argentina were unable to find the all-important equaliser as they slipped to a stunning loss.

Here are how the Argentina players rated in their Group C opener:

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia player ratings: Lionel Messi struggles in stunning loss

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:22 , Kieran Jackson

Joe Cole:

“Mexico is now massive. For Scaloni, a young and inexperienced manager, went on a run... this is a huge test now. He’s got to lift that group of players and find a way to get them back. It’s a big ask for him.”

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:18 , Kieran Jackson

Roy Keane:

“They had something to hold on. Argentina didn’t show the quality - the decision-making! Fantastic from Saudi Arabia! They got the bodies back, they were strong and got a bit of luck!”

Joe Cole:

“I thought ‘what are they thinking with that high line’. Messi never got on the ball, one of the most quiet games I’ve seen him play!”

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:12 , Kieran Jackson

Graeme Souness, speaking on ITV:

“I am gobsmacked. I’ve never seen an Argentina team not turn up for the fight - they were wishy-washy today. I thought Argentina had another gear, they didn’t have another gear!

“If that’s their quality, England have nothing to fear if they face them in this competition. Argentina didn’t match them. They got intimidated today by Saudi Arabia! They got rolled over by a very enthusiastic and aggressive Saudi Arabia! I am so disappointed in Argentina!”

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:10 , Kieran Jackson

The Saudi squad run over to celebrate in front of their adoring fans - what a special moment for Saudi Arabia and this World Cup!

Humilation for Lionel Messi and Argentina...

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

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:08 , Kieran Jackson


Can you believe it?! Saudi Arabia - the 53rd ranked team - have beaten Argentina at the World Cup!

It’s Argentina’s first loss in three years! But it’s jubilation for Saudi Arabia! The players fall to the ground - the subs run onto the pitch!

An all-time World Cup shock!

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

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:04 , Kieran Jackson

90+10 mins: Di Maria crosses in and Alvarez heads towards goal... but it’s saved again by Alowais!

Saudi Arabia are nearly there...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:03 , Kieran Jackson

90+10 mins: Alvarez wins a corner for Argentina...

Last chance saloon now..

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

12:02 , Kieran Jackson

90+9 mins: Yasser Alshahrani is on a stretcher - he looks OK, though will be substituted!

Mohammed Alburayk will take his place. Got about three minutes left of playing time I reckon...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:59 , Kieran Jackson

90+5 mins: A Saudi player is down here in the box - Alowais comes out to punch the ball and knees the Saudi player in the face!

No time wasting here. The keeper is distraught. It looks very serious here...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:56 , Kieran Jackson

90+2 mins: Saudi clear the ball off the line!

Alowais can only palm the cross to Alvarez, whose effort is headed off the line from Alamri!

High-fives all round! Saudi keeper Alowais booked as he complains he should have had a free-kick!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:55 , Kieran Jackson

90+1 mins: Messi’s free-kick is tame and headed clear... and is wildly celebrarted by Saudi Arabia!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:53 , Kieran Jackson

90 mins: Great run by Angel Di Maria - and he’s upended on the right-hand side, 10 yards outside the box.

Likely to be Messi to whip it in...

It’s eight minutes of added time too!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:52 , Kieran Jackson

88 mins: Di Maria whips in a cross with the outside of his foot, but it’s another brilliant interception!

Saudi are now making two substitutes, including one of the subs coming off!

Nawaf Alabid is that man - and he’s been booked for taking his time coming off the pitch!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:50 , Kieran Jackson

86 mins: Saudi’s Feras Albrikan now down injured, with the referee making it obvious that he’s adding on the time...

Still, Argentina are desperate now! Saudi so close to a HUGE RESULT!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:48 , Kieran Jackson

84 mins: Another chance comes and goes for Argentina!

Di Maria whips in a cross and Messi is at the back post - but his header is straight at Saudi keeper Alowais!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:46 , Kieran Jackson

82 mins: Saud Abdulhamid in the book for a rough challenge - no complaints on that one.

Saudi’s fourth yellow card. Not ideal, yet their fouls are breaking up the play and not allowing Argentina to get any momentum at all!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:44 , Kieran Jackson

80 mins: After a build-up of over a minutes, Messi shoots comfortably over the crossbar!

Not his day so far, nor Argentina’s.

Saudi Arabia are 10 minutes away from one of the all-time World Cup shocks here.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:42 , Kieran Jackson

79 mins: Messi wins a dubious free-kick five yards outside the box, centre of the pitch. Fortunate to win the decision there... Salem Aldawsari booked for his protests.

Messi time...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:42 , Kieran Jackson

78 mins: Change for Saudi - goalscorer Alshehri OFF, Al-Ghannam ON.

Defender on for an attacker. Mind you, Alshehri not happy about it!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:40 , Kieran Jackson

76 mins: Acuna whips in the corner but Enzo Fernández can only head it over and into the stands!

88,012 in the Lusail Iconic Stadium today! And boy can we hear them all, particularly the Saudi fans right now!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:39 , Kieran Jackson

75 mins: Booking for Saudi defender Ali Albulayhi for time-wasting.

Who can blame him? 15 minutes to hold on...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:37 , Kieran Jackson

73 mins: Di Maria has a pop on his right foot from a narrow angle - but it’s straight at Alowais!

Argentina pressing and probing frantically now... can they find an equaliser?

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:34 , Kieran Jackson

71 mins: Another sub for Argentina: left-back Tagliafico comes off, Acuna comes on.

Lionel Scaloni has one sub left...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:33 , Kieran Jackson

70 mins: Saudi’s defensive line is still very high... but Argentina can’t get the right weight on their passes through!

Lautaro Martinez, this time, heads wide from a Messi corner. Messi, incidentally, looking somewhat shellshocked.

Argentina have 20 minutes to turn it around here!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:31 , Kieran Jackson

66 mins: Julian Alvarez does well to dig out a cross from Messi’s wayward ball but the keeper claims comfortably!

He’s had quite the game so far has Mohammed Alowais!

Saudi still looking more energetic than Argentina... Abdulelah Almalki does receive a booking though for a late challenge on Cristian Romero.

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

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:28 , Kieran Jackson

63 mins: What a save from Mohammed Alowais!

Argentina win the second ball and, somehow, Lisandro Martinez’s poke towards goal is parried away by the Saudi goalkeeper!

Argentina have, finally, upped their tempo...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:26 , Kieran Jackson

62 mins: Di Maria’s cross is close to Lautaro Martinez’s head in the box but he can’t quite get there!

Argentina do have a corner though... Messi over it...

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:23 , Kieran Jackson

59 mins: Triple sub for Argentina!

Fernandez, Alvarez, Martinez ON. Paredes, Gomez, Romero OFF.

Argentina need something and they need something fast...

It’s an unbelievable noise inside the Lusail Iconic Stadium - the Saudi fans are going mental!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

11:21 , Kieran Jackson

57 mins: What a tackle!

Lionel Messi looks set to score in the box but it’s a brilliant goal-saving tackle from Saudi’s Hassan Altambakti!

And he celebrates it like he’s scored!

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia (Salem Aldawsari, 53)

11:19 , Kieran Jackson

53 mins: Oh my good god - Saudi Arabia lead against Argentina! And WHAT A GOAL!

Salem Aldawsari has scored a belter! Argentina block an initial shot, but then Aldawsari controls the ball beautifully, cuts in on his right-foot just inside the box and bends the ball brilliantly into the far top-corner!

Martinez gets a hand on it but to no avail! Joyous scenes on the Saudi bench!

Argentina have it all to do to avoid one of the all-time World Cup shocks...

Argentina 1-1 Saudi Arabia

11:16 , Kieran Jackson

50 mins: Argentina are all over the place here!

A miscued pass sees the space open up for Saleh Alshehri - but he is quickly shut down!

Argentina 1-1 Saudi Arabia (Saleh Alshehri, 48)

11:13 , Kieran Jackson

48 mins: Oh what a moment this is - Saudi Arabia equalise!

They win the ball in the middle of the park and then it’s all about Saudi striker Saleh Alshehri! He paces past Romero and then finishes brilliantly with his left foot into the corner beyond Martinez!

Jubilation in Lusail! Saudi are level against Argentina!

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

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

11:11 , Kieran Jackson

48 mins: Di Maria offside early on.

How about this for a stat: Argentina were caught offside seven times in the first half - more than any side in a match at the 2018 World Cup!

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

11:10 , Kieran Jackson

45 mins: We’re back underway with the second-half!

No changes at the break but Saudi of course had that substitution in the first-half...

Can the underdogs possibly find a goal in this second-half?

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia: Pundit quotes!

11:04 , Kieran Jackson

Graeme Souness, speaking to ITV:

“They seem quite intent to not control the ball which is surprising agains a team like Saudi Arabia. You have to give some credit to Saudi with their physical approach to Argentina. I think Argentina have another gear to go.”

Roy Keane:

“Argentina really not quite at it. Saudi have done OK - when they do get set-pieces, the delivery has to be better. They’re in the game - but expect more from Argentina.”

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:53 , Kieran Jackson

HALF-TIME: Argentina lead at the break courtesy of that Lionel Messi penalty!

And while Argentina have had two goals ruled out - one dubiously for a perilously close offside - Saudi have held their own here and are still well in the game!

It’s not done for Argentina yet. One of the tournament favourites still have work to do...

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:51 , Kieran Jackson

45+4 mins: Turns out Saudi captain Salman Al-Faraj is not fit to continue - he looks understandbly gutted as he trudges off, looks like an ankle/foot problem.

Nawaf Albaid takes his place. Salem Aldawsari takes over as captain...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:50 , Kieran Jackson

45+2 mins: Di Maria is found beautifully in the box but the Juventus winger can only find Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:48 , Kieran Jackson

45 mins: Five minutes of added time at the end of the first-half here...

Rodrigo de Paul broke into the box and was looking for Messi - but it’s well intercepted!

Saudi Arabia will be satisfied if they can hold it to 1-0 at the break...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:44 , Kieran Jackson

43 mins: Saudi head the ball out straight to Rodrigo de Paul on the edge of the box... but he completely miscues and skies his effort into the stands!

Good chance that!

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:43 , Kieran Jackson

42 mins: Gomez wins another free-kick for Argentina on the left-hand side, with Lionel Messi over the ball again...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:40 , Kieran Jackson

38 mins: Break in play here (don’t worry it’ll be added on!) with Saudi captain Salman Al-Faraj down and receiving treatment.

He looks OK to carry on though...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:37 , Kieran Jackson

35 mins: Martinez is played through again... sits down the keeper and scores into an empty net... but he’s offside again!

This one is clear-cut - unlike the thought process behind Saudi Arabia’s high line!

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:36 , Kieran Jackson

34 mins: Argentina are being quite careless with the ball here - a few misplaced passes just gifting possession back to Saudi Arabia!

Meanwhile, we’ve seen Martinez’s offside goal - and it seems it’s the top of his t-shirt which is offside!

Laughable really...

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:33 , Kieran Jackson

32 mins: Beside Argentina’s clear chances, Saudi Arabia are well in the game here. And they’re not scared of being physical either!

They’ve got a free-kick on the left-hand side... but it’s comfortably into the hands of Emiliano Martinez!

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:31 , Kieran Jackson

Oh hang on... it’s been disallowed for offside! As you were...

Very confusing - Martinez looked clearly onside! Lionel Messi was offside but did not go near the ball....


Argentina 2-0 Saudi Arabia (Martinez, 28)

10:30 , Kieran Jackson

28 mins: Another goal for Argentina - and it’s Lautaro Martinez!

It’s a terrific finish from the Inter striker - he’s played through and cooly chips the ball over the Saudi keeper!

Breathing space for Argentina!

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:24 , Kieran Jackson

22 mins: Lionel Messi is in behind the Saudi defence... and scores... but the flag goes up!

He’s played superbly in behind and finishes comfortably into the corner... but the captain is offside - JUST!

Let-off for Saudi Arabia.

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:23 , Kieran Jackson

21 mins: Papu Gómez this time cuts inside from the left-hand side and shoots - but it’s harmlessly over the bar!

When Argentina do get in Saudi’s final-third, they look threatening straight away...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:21 , Kieran Jackson

20 mins: Lautaro Martinez gets in behind and shoots over before the flag eventually goes up - the Argentina forward was clearly offside!

Terrific noise being generated by both sets of fans inside the stadium!

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:19 , Kieran Jackson

17 mins: First meaningful attack from Saudi Arabia with a threatening cross in the box... but the ball deflects nicely into the hands of Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez.

Tell you what, when the Argentines have the ball, Saudi Arabia’s defensive line is very high! Risky...

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia

10:17 , Kieran Jackson

15 mins: A good response from Saudi, who have had their fair share of the ball since the opening goal, but are struggling to make an impact in the final third.

Meanwhile - a picture of Messi’s celebrations after his first goal of this World Cup!

Fun fact: Messi failed to score at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - the only World Cup he has played and failed to score in!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Argentina 1-0 Saudi Arabia (Messi pen, 10)

10:12 , Kieran Jackson

10 mins: Lionel Messi sends the keeper the wrong way - and Argentina lead!

The captain waits for Alowais to move to his left before sending the ball in the opposite direction!

A dream start for Argentina! VAR involved from the off too - a clear penalty... but where’s the consistency?

Argentina 0-0 Saudi Arabia

10:11 , Kieran Jackson

9 mins: PENALTY!

It’s Ali Albulayhi with the foul, with a pull on Argentina’s Leandro Paredes - it’s quite clear and it’s an early penalty! Similar to the one not given with Harry Maguire yesterday though...

Lionel Messi is over it...

Argentina 0-0 Saudi Arabia

10:09 , Kieran Jackson

8 mins: VAR involved before the free-kick is even taken!

It’s looking like a foul from the corner...

Argentina 0-0 Saudi Arabia

10:09 , Kieran Jackson

7 mins: Saudi clear their lines - via a punch from Alowais - but Argentina win another free-kick by the touchline after a needless foul on midfielder Rodrigo De Paul.

Lionel Messi over it...

Argentina 0-0 Saudi Arabia

10:07 , Kieran Jackson

5 mins: Tell you what - it’s feisty early on!

A few tackles flying in as both teams tussle for the ball - Argentina now have the first corner of the game...

Argentina 0-0 Saudi Arabia

10:04 , Kieran Jackson

2 mins: Wow - it didn’t take long for Lionel Messi to be involved, it’s a huge chance!

It’s scrappy - but the ball breaks to the Argentina captain in the box and he strokes the ball towards the corner... but it’s well-saved with a strong right hand from Saudi keeper Mohammed Alowais

It could well be a long day for the Saudi keeper - but an impressive first involvement!

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Kick-off!

10:01 , Kieran Jackson

We’re underway at the 80,000-seater Lusail Iconic Stadium!

Argentina in their usual blue and white strip, with Saudi Arabia in green!

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: We’re moments from kick-off!

09:59 , Kieran Jackson

A reminder of the teams!


Emeliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Tagliafico, Nicolas Otamendi, Nahuel Molina, Alejandro Gomez, Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Lionel Messi (c), Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria.

Saudi Arabia:

Mohamed Al-Owais, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Mohamed Kanno, Saud Abdulhamid, Abdulelah Al-Malki, Saleh Al-Shehri, Hassan Al-Tambakti, Salman Al-Faraj(c), Salem Al-Dawsari, Firas Al-Buraikan.

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: The teams are out!

09:55 , Kieran Jackson

The Lusail Iconic Stadium is the scene for this opening game in Group C between Argentina and Saudi Arabia!

This stadium will host the final in just under four weeks’ time - will Lionel Messi be there?!

The journey starts here. National anthems coming right up!

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Pundits thoughts!

09:45 , Kieran Jackson

Graeme Souness, speaking on ITV;

“This is the strongest team he’s played with in a World Cup. It’s such a special event, you’ve got to expect he’ll turn up. He’s arguably the greatest player ever, Ronaldo is a little bit behind him. They’ve done it for such a long time. I’m so looking forward to seeing this guy play. Such a unique talent. He gets me off the seat like no other player in world football.

Joe Cole:

“He just floats and plays on instinct. Outstanding. He is one of the strongest players. Coupled with his technical ability and mentality, he is the perfect footballer.”

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: The players are out warming up!

09:36 , Kieran Jackson

Both teams are out for their warm-ups at the Lusail Iconic Stadium - no surprise who the biggest roar is for!

Lionel Messi is competing at his fifth - and by his own words last - World Cup in Qatar as he seeks the one trophy which has eluded him!

Will he be the star man today?

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

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Here’s all the details in Group C!

09:23 , Kieran Jackson

Lionel Messi will try to finally win that elusive World Cup and fill the remaining hole on his glittering career CV as Argentina begin their Qatar 2022 campaign in Group C.

Messi’s status as one of the greatest players of all time is already secure but heading into his fifth and final World Cup, the prospect of lifting Jules Rimet is tantalising. He came agonisingly close when La Albiceleste lost to Germany in the 2014 final, before a disappointing last-16 exit four years ago, but the team have rebuilt, ended a 28-year major trophy drought in the 2021 Copa America and are among the favourites in Qatar as Messi is joined by the likes of Emi Martinez, Cristian Romero, Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez in a formidable core to Lionel Scaloni’s side.

They are overwhelming favourites to win Group C having cruised through South American qualifying, while Mexico’s record of making it out of the groups in their last eight World Cup appearances means they’ll be fancied to take second spot, although a lack of goal threat could prove their undoing.

Poland - who certainly don’t lack goal threat with Robert Lewandowski up top - appear most likely to qualify if El Tri falter and are hoping to play a first World Cup knockout match since 1986. Saudi Arabia round out the group as the underdogs after emerging from Asian qualifying, with a promising group of youngsters that won the first U-23 Asian Cup in the country’s history earlier this year probably not yet developed enough to cause real problems at the highest level

Here is everything you need to know about Group C:

Which teams are in Group C?

Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia make up Group C.

What are the venues?

Lusail (Lusail Stadium), Doha (Stadium 974), Al Rayyan (Education City Stadium),

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Odds!

09:10 , Kieran Jackson

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia match odds

Argentina: 1/10

Draw: 9/1

Saudi Arabia: 30/1

2022 World Cup winner

Brazil: 10/3

Argentina: 5/1

England: 7/1

France: 8/1

Spain: 9/1

Germany: 10/1

Odds provided by Betfair

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: TEAM NEWS

09:00 , Kieran Jackson


Emeliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Tagliafico, Nicolas Otamendi, Nahuel Molina, Alejandro Gomez, Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Lionel Messi (c), Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria.

Saudi Arabia:

Mohamed Al-Owais, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Mohamed Kanno, Saud Abdulhamid, Abdulelah Al-Malki, Saleh Al-Shehri, Hassan Al-Tambakti, Salman Al-Faraj(c), Salem Al-Dawsari, Firas Al-Buraikan.

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: The Independent’s prediction...

08:41 , Kieran Jackson

Argentina play Saudi Arabia in the opening match of Group C at the Qatar World Cup.

With Poland football and Croatia football also in the group, Argentina will hope to make a winning start as they begin their campaign.

Lionel Messi is facing his last chance to win a World Cup at the age of 35 and his team comes into the tournament as one of the favourites after Argentina won the Copa America last summer.

Following on from a car crash of a campaign in 2018, Argentina have far better balance and cohesion now under Lionel Scaloni than in perhaps any other World Cup Messi has played in.

Predicting how Argentina vs Saudi Arabia will play out today

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Lionel Messi’s last World Cup comes in a tangled web of sportswashing

08:23 , Kieran Jackson

It’s the 93rd minute on a sweltering November evening in Qatar. Lionel Messi flicks a pass forward and receives the return while gliding towards the Brazil defence. There is a nibble at his shins and although Messi stumbles, he carries on, now drifting away from goal. The reverse shot across his body sends him off balance, tumbling into a backwards roll. The ball, though, nestles perfectly into the far corner and as Messi takes off, Argentina can celebrate their first win over Brazil in five years.

The year was 2010, the match two weeks before Fifa met to vote on the hosts of the 2022 World Cup. The staging of a friendly between not only international football’s greatest rivals, as well as its best player, was undoubtedly a significant moment for Qatar’s relationship with the sport, but came as Fifa’s own technical report delivered a damning verdict that the country’s bid to host the World Cup carried “high risk”. In the end, it made no difference. Two weeks later, Sepp Blatter announced the decision that would shape football for the next 12 years.

Argentina’s win against Brazil and Messi’s stoppage time winner was the start of two journeys, culminating over the next four weeks at a World Cup that will bind ambition and opportunity, of which for the hosts its legacy will be the image it leaves behind.

In terms of trial runs, though, it was not the first. England had played in the first international fixture to be staged at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha, also against Brazil, one year earlier. But what at the time could have been seen as a moment of individual brilliance from Messi, a blend of balance, skill and speed that would define his career, can also now be viewed through the lens of Qatar’s early forages into hosting the big names, the big teams, and their attempts to gain power through football.

On the pitch, Messi’s last shot at the World Cup is the most compelling story of the tournament. At the time of the Qatar friendly in 2010, and in the aftermath of Argentina’s disastrous World Cup campaign under Diego Maradona in South Africa, Messi was emerging, truly, as the captain and figure who would be expected to carry his nation for the next 12 years.

Lionel Messi’s last World Cup comes in a tangled web of sportswashing

What TV channel is Argentina vs Saudi Arabia on? Kick-off time and where to watch World Cup fixture

08:15 , Luke Baker

Argentina and Lionel Messi begin their quest to win the World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Group C.

It’s been 36 years since Argentina last won the World Cup while the prize is the one that has evaded Messi throughout his career.

Now playing in his final World Cup at the age of 35, Messi appears to be back to his best following a difficult first season at PSG, while Argentina seem to be in good shape too.

Lionel Scaloni’s side are among the favourites following their victory in the Copa America last summer, which ended Messi’s long wait for a first international title with his country.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What TV channel is Argentina vs Saudi Arabia on? Kick-off time and where to watch

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia

08:05 , Luke Baker

Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of Argentina vs Saudi Arabia from the Qatar World Cup.

Lionel Messi faces one last chance to win the World Cup with Argentina as he opens his final tournament against unfancied Saudi Arabia. The World Cup has evaded Messi throughout his career and the closest he came was in the final defeat to Germany in 2014.

Argentina suffered poor campaigns in 2010 and 2018, but they come into Qatar as one of the favourites following their Copa America triumph last summer.

It was a victory that gave Messi a long-awaited first international title with Argentina and Lionel Scaloni’s side will be confident of going far in Qatar.

Follow all the action with our live blog.