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Argentina unbeaten run ends against Saudi Arabia at the FIFA World Cup 2022

Going into the FIFA World Cup 2022, the Argentina unbeaten run was one of the biggest talking points. Lionel Messi and his young group of players were regarded as one of the major contenders to win the World Cup after going on a 36-game unbeaten streak since 2019. However, it has come to an end after Saudi Arabia defeated them 2-1 in the opening FIFA World Cup match.

Two-time world champions Argentina enjoy a massive following all over the world. Pioneered and popularised by stalwarts like Diego Maradona, Mario Kempes, Gabriel Batistuta, and Lionel Messi, Argentina are one of the most prestigious national teams in world football.

Despite their poor performances in the World Cup over the previous edition, there was considerable hope going into the World Cup in Qatar because of the form they had been in. Managed by Lionel Scaloni, Argentina had defeated Brazil in the Copa America final to become South American champions and lifted their first trophy since 1993.

More importantly, however, Argentina went on a 36-match unbeaten streak and hadn’t lost a game since the first week of July 2019. They needed two more victories or draws at the World Cup to overtake Italy for the record of the longest unbeaten run in world football, but the Argentina unbeaten run ended at 36, after a loss to Saudi Arabia.

Argentina unbeaten run ends at 36

1July 6, 2019Argentina 2-1 ChileCopa America
2Sep 6, 2019Chile 0-0 ArgentinaFriendly
3Sept. 10, 2019Argentina 4-0 MexicoFriendly
4Oct. 9, 2019Germany 2-2 ArgentinaFriendly
5Oct. 13, 2019Argentina 6-1 EcuadorFriendly
6Nov. 15, 2019Argentina 1-0 BrazilFriendly
7Nov. 18, 2019Argentina 2-2 UruguayFriendly
8Oct 8, 2020Argentina 1-0 EcuadorWorld Cup Qualifier
9Oct. 13, 2020Bolivia 1-2 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
10Nov 12, 2020Argentina 1-1 ParaguayWorld Cup Qualifier
11Nov. 17, 2020Peru 0-2 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
12June 3, 2021Argentina 1-1 ChileWorld Cup Qualifier
13June 8, 2021Colombia 2-2 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
14June 14, 2021Argentina 1-1 ChileCopa America
15June 18, 2021Argentina 1-0 UruguayCopa America
16June 21, 2021Argentina 1-0 ParaguayCopa America
17June 28, 2021Argentina 4-1 BoliviaCopa America
18July 3, 2021Argentina 3-0 EcuadorCopa America
19July 6, 2021Argentina 1-1 (3-2) ColombiaCopa America
20July 10, 2021Brazil 0-1 ArgentinaCopa America
21Sept. 2, 2021Venezuela 1-3 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
22Sept. 9, 2021Argentina 3-0 BoliviaWorld Cup Qualifier
23Oct. 7, 2021Paraguay 0-0 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
24Oct. 10, 2021Argentina 3-0 UruguayWorld Cup Qualifier
25Oct. 14, 2021Argentina 1-0 PeruWorld Cup Qualifier
26Nov. 12, 2021Uruguay 0-1 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
27Nov. 16, 2021Argentina 0-0 BrazilWorld Cup Qualifier
28Jan. 27, 2022Chile 1-2 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
29Feb. 1, 2022Argentina 1-0 ColombiaWorld Cup Qualifier
30March 25, 2022Argentina 3-0 VenezuelaWorld Cup Qualifier
31March 29, 2022Ecuador 1-1 ArgentinaWorld Cup Qualifier
32June 1, 2022Italy 0-3 ArgentinaFinalissima
33June 5, 2022Argentina 5-0 EstoniaFriendly
34Sept. 23, 2022Argentina 3-0 HondurasFriendly
35Sept. 27, 2022Argentina 3-0 JamaicaFriendly
36Nov. 16, 2022UAE 0-5 ArgentinaFriendly

Argentina’s jaw-dropping and outstanding run of form in international football where they went on a 36-match unbeaten streak has now come to an end. In the first match of their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign, Argentina, regarded by many as one of the favourites to win the tournament, had slumped to a bitter 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia are the second-lowest-ranked team in this year’s World Cup in Qatar. Their fantastic performance against Argentina with their two goals in the second half is already being hailed as a miracle at the World Cup. Their comeback also joins the list of the great upsets in World Cup history: Cameroon won 1-0 against an Argentina side led by Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup; Senegal secured a 1-0 victory over defending champions France in the 2002 tournament opener, and the United States beat England by the same score in 1950.

They had come close to beating Italy’s record of the longest unbeaten streak in international football but will have to contend with second place for now. Argentina went on a 36-game unbeaten run since losing to Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America.

Also Read: Messi international goals

The first match in their streak was the 2-1 win over Chile on July 6, 2019. Since then, they remained undefeated heading into the World Cup and their streak included 10 friendlies. It, of course, also included their delightful Copa America campaign last year where they went on to win the trophy after defeating Brazil 1-0 in the final at the Maracana Stadium. It was Argentina’s first silverware since 1993 and Messi’s first major international trophy with the national team.

Argentina also defeated European champions Italy 3-0 in the Finalissima contest that was hosted between the reigning South American and European champions. Argentina’s remarkable streak also included three matches against arch-rivals Brazil, with two of them resulting in wins for Messi’s side. This doesn’t include the World Cup qualifier that was scheduled to take place between the two sides in September 2021.

That match was suspended after a few minutes of play as Brazilian health authorities intervened and took to the pitch after it was found that four Argentina players had broken COVID-19 quarantine regulations with their unauthorized presence in Brazil.

Argentina also played five matches against 2015 and 2016 Copa America champions Chile during their unbeaten streak, with two wins and three draws. Amongst the top European sides, they clashed with Germany and Italy, holding the former to a 2-2 draw while beating the latter 3-0.

Longest unbeaten streaks in international football

CountryGamesUnbeaten (W-L-D)Streak BeganStreak EndedEnded By
Italy37 (30-0-7)Oct. 10, 2018Oct. 6, 2021Spain
Argentina36 (27-0-9)July 2, 2019Nov. 22, 2022Saudi Arabia
Spain35 (32-0-3)Feb. 7, 2007June 24, 2009United States
Brazil35 (28-0-7)Dec. 16, 1993Jan. 21, 1996Mexico
Argentina31 (21-0-10)Feb. 20, 1991Aug. 15, 1993Colombia
France30 (22-0-8)Feb. 16, 1994June 26, 1996Czech Republic
Italy30 (24-0-6)Nov. 24, 1935Nov. 12, 1939Switzerland
Algeria25 (17-0-8)Nov. 14, 2019Jan. 16, 2022Equatorial Guinea

Argentina’s defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening Group C fixture of the FIFA World Cup also means that Italy still hold the world record for the longest unbeaten run in international football with a tally of 37 matches under their belt, one more than Argentina. That Italy World Cup streak began in 2018 under Roberto Mancini and in the aftermath of their failed attempt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

They then famously went on an unbelievable streak of unbeaten games, the highlight of which was their Euro 2020 campaign. Italy, who didn’t make it to Russia 2018 or Qatar 2022, were crowned champions of Europe after the final at the Wembley Stadium last year.

They shared spoils against Switzerland on September 6, 2021 which broke the 35-match unbeaten run that was previously held by both Brazil (1993-1996) and Spain (2007-2009) to record the longest unbeaten run in international football.

Their streak lasted 37 games and it came to an end in October 2021 with Ferran Torres scoring a brace for Spain. La Roja were able to exact revenge for their Euro 2020 semi-final loss to Italy in a penalty shootout.

Italy also hold the fourth-longest streak in world football, after they went unbeaten for 30 matches between 1935 and 1939.


Who scored the goals in the match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia in the first FIFA World Cup game?

Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Argentina from the penalty spot before Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari scored two goals in the second half.

How many times have Argentina won the World Cup?

Argentina have won the FIFA World Cup twice: in 1978 and 1986.

In which group have Argentina been placed in the FIFA World Cup?

Argentina have been placed in Group C along with Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.


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