A World Cup doesn’t really get going until the first major upset and Saudi Arabia delivered one of the biggest in history this morning.
Herve Renard’s side came from 1-0 down to beat Argentina 2-1 amid the most feverish atmosphere in Qatar yet.
Not only has the Saudis’ spirited display shaken up the outlook of the tournament – the Albiceleste were second favourites to lift the trophy before a ball was kicked – it’s sent shock waves throughout the realm of Dream Team World Cup.
Lionel Messi was the most-popular player in the game just prior to kick-off and the 38% of gaffers backing him must have thought they were in for a big double-digit haul when he opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 10th minute.
But Argentina failed to adjust to Saudi Arabia’s high defensive line and were caught offside time and time again in the first half.
Lautaro Martinez was unlucky on one occasion as he seemed to have beaten the offside trap to double his side’s lead but VAR adjudged half his shoulder to be beyond the last defender.
At the halfway stage there was already a sense that the two-time world champions would regret their indiscipline and so it proved to be as Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari scored in the space of five minutes soon after the restart to put the underdogs 2-1 up.
This was a significant blow to the 22.7% of Dream Team World Cup bosses with Emi Martinez between the sticks – the Aston Villa goalkeeper is by far and away the most-popular asset in his position right now.
The 30-year-old incurred minus one point at the end of his first outing and will probably be among the most-transferred players this week.
This game was also a real roller coaster for Lisandro Martinez owners.
We warned gaffers that the Man United centre-back was likely to make way for Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi but still 17.4% of you selected him.
His backers would have been thoroughly annoyed to see him named on the bench when it looked as if an easy clean sheet was there for the taking but that emotion would have switched to relief when the Saudi goals went in.
However, there was one final twist in the tale as Martinez came off the bench to replace Romero in the 59th minute, thus incurring minus points.
Argentina piled on the pressure for the last half an hour but backers of Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria were left as frustrated as the players themselves as the Saudi players defended their penalty box with unwavering dedication and intensity.
The result turns Group B on its head and already the round of 16 predictions look in need of revision.
Dream Team World Cup gaffers will now be thinking of moving away from Emi and Lisandro Martinez with Mexico and Poland to come.
Saying that, most will expect Argentina to come out strong on Saturday and, despite the torrent of offsides, there was enough attacking promise to suggest there could be points for Lautaro Martinez and Messi on offer.
The cat is firmly among the pigeons.