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Herve Renard - The tactical genius behind Saudi Arabia's historic FIFA World Cup match win over Argentina

Herve Renard's Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina 2-1 in a Group C match of the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday, November 22. Saudi Arabia ended Lionel Messi-led Argentina's 36-man winning streak, which started in 2019.

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Herve Renard during Argentina v Saudi Arabia match. (AP Photo)

In Short

  • Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1 in a Group C match
  • Messi-led Argentina's 36-match winning streak has ended
  • Saudi Arabia will next meet Poland on November 26

By Priya Nagi: Saudi Arabia have sent an early warning at the FIFA World Cup after coming from behind to stun Argentina. The Green Falcons forced unwanted entries in the history books of Argentina.

Argentina had not lost a FIFA World Cup match in which they scored first since West Germany defeated them 3-1 in 1958. The White and Sky Blue team also had a 36-match winning streak, which started in 2019. However, Saudi Arabia changed everything as they upset Argentina 2-1 in a Group C match at the World Cup 2022 on Tuesday.

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The man behind all of this is Herve Renard. For the France-born coach, it would be no surprise as he guided Zambia to clinch the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and helped Ivory Coast with his tactical brain to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Saudi Arabia, who had a dismal record in opening matches, are ranked 48 places lower than third-placed Argentina. However, they proved too much in the face of star-studded Lionel Messi-led Argentina. The Green Falcons proved that they too have a pedigree at the World Cup, playing their only sixth tournament and having reached the last 16 in 1994.

Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates after scoring for Saudi Arabia (AP Photo)

"I saw a country full of young, talented players. We achieved our first target, let us work together for the rest," coach Renard had said ahead of the match. "We enjoyed a good preparation period and all the players benefited from it. We look forward to presenting an honorable performance for Saudi Arabia."

Messi started his fifth World Cup with a 10th minute penalty goal as Argentina dominated the first half convincingly. Argentina could have added three more goals but all three of them were disallowed for offside - one by Messi and two by Lautaro Martinez.

Saudi Arabia turned around the match in the second half, with Saleh Al-Shehri's equaliser in the 48th minute and Salem Al-Dawsari's strike in the 53rd minute, which left Messi shell-shocked. Although Argentina had plenty of possession, they failed to penetrate against a spirited Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium.

Saudi Arabia will next meet Poland in a Group C match of the FIFA World Cup 2016 on November 26.