It’s day three of the World Cup and it’s time for Argentina, France, Mexico and Denmark to strut their stuff in the biggest tournament on earth.
Monday’s action saw England lay down a marker with a six-goal haul against Iran, and Gareth Bale step up to the plate once more to guide Wales to a draw with the United States.
It’s now over to Lionel Messi and his final attempt to win the World Cup with Argentina – they kick off the day’s action against Saudi Arabia.
Denmark and Tunisia follow in Group D, Mexico and Poland then square off in Group C’s other game, before France round off the day against Australia – the team they faced in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup.
Follow the action with 90min below.
Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
90+9′ – We’re back underway and Saudi Arabia have minutes to cling on.
90+4′ – A sickening clash between Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper and Yasir Al Shahrani. He’s prone on the floor after taking a knee flush on the jaw and is surely unconscious. There will be a lengthy stoppage here to treat him.
90′ – EIGHT MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME! We’re now up to 78 minutes of the stuff in just five World Cup outings…
85′ – Argentina continue to pour forward and Saudi Arabia continue to hold firm. They are defending heroically against one of the pre-tournament favourites!
75′ – Less than 15 minutes to go and Saudi Arabia still lead Argentina.
66′ – Enzo Fernandez, Lisandro Martinez and Julian Alvarez are all on as subs, incidentally.
65′ – Argentina are piling on the pressure but Saudi Arabia are holding firm for now. This is truly unbelievable stuff.
Saudi Arabia swarm the goalscorer Salem Al-Dawsari / Buda Mendes/GettyImages
52′ – We pinpointed two Saudi threats prior to kick off and it’s now Salem Al-Dawsari’s turn to take centre stage! An effort from the right is blocked and deflected high into the air. Al-Dawsari takes it down, spins away from three Argentina defenders and bends a superb strike into Martinez’s top corner. UNBELIEVABLE!
52′ – SAUDI ARABIA TAKE THE LEAD! Do not adjust your monitors, this is not a drill! It’s Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia at the World Cup!
50′ – The Lusail Stadium is absolutely rocking…Saudi Arabia back in the contest from absolutely nowhere.
48′ – CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! Saudi Arabia get a little bit lucky with the run of the ball but take nothing away from Saleh Al Shehri, who wriggles his way past Romero and Nicolas Otamendi before firing home into Emi Martinez’s bottom corner! Told you he was a player to watch out for!
HALF TIME – ARGENTINA 1-0 SAUDI ARABIA
It’s half-time and Argentina have been in absolute cruise control. Saudi Arabia had a decent ten minutes or so (decent as in they were in the opposition half) but they are so wide open at the back and should be many goals down.
As it is, Messi and Martinez couldn’t stay onside, meaning it’s 1-0 and not 4-0 at the break.
One of many Argentina offside goals / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
45′ – Five minutes added on, we’re well on course for another 100 minutes of action at least.
35′ – GOAL…..RULED OUT FOR THE THIRD TIME! Martinez, ball in the net, the offside flag – you know the drill by now…
27′ – GOAL RULED OUT AGAIN! Slide-rule pass through to Martinez and he’s through on goal. The Inter striker shows great composure to dink it over Al-Owais and it’s 2-0 Argentina….or is it? It’s pulled back for another offside and Saudi Arabia survive!
21′ – GOAL RULED OUT! It’s a simple long ball over the top and Messi is through on goal. He slots the ball home with aplomb but the goal is correctly ruled out for offside. 1-0 it remains.
20′ – A decent spell for Saudi Arabia who have played themselves into the game. Not all one-way traffic as the early goal might have suggested it would be.
Early celebrations for Argentina / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
9 – GOAL! Messi tucks it away coolly and it’s 1-0 to Argentina! Game over?
8′ – PENALTY! There’s grappling in the box ahead of a Messi free-kick and VAR recommends the referee to award a penalty for holding – he duly does!
2′ – CHANCE! We’re underway and it’s immediately a chance for Argentina and Messi. Di Maria plays the ball in from the right flank, Martinez cushions it before running into traffic and the ball runs loose to Messi. He strokes it first time towards the corner but Mohammed Al-Owais gets down to make the save!
0′ – Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez spearhead Argentina’s attack, while there’s a start in defence for Tottenham’s Cristian Romero. Saudi Arabia’s chief threats are Saleh Al Shehri, who has 10 goals in 20 international appearances, and Salem Al-Dawsari.
0′ – LINEUPS CONFIRMED!
There’s huge Argentina expectation as ever / Alex Livesey – Danehouse/GettyImages
Argentina face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning in the first match for one of the World Cup’s favourites.
Lionel Scaloni’s side are unbeaten in competitive matches since losing to Brazil in the semi-final of the 2019 Copa America. Argentina were crowned champions of South America in 2021 and come into the competition without the familiar maelstrom of unease which has accompanied their recent World Cup appearances.
Saudi Arabia don’t boast quite the same lofty billing. The Green Falcons are the second-lowest-ranked nation at the World Cup (51st).
Prediction: Argentina 3-0 Saudi Arabia
Denmark vs Tunisia
Perennial World Cup dark horses Denmark face a far less fancied Tunisia in their opening group game on Tuesday lunchtime.
Denmark were imperious during World Cup qualification, securing their place in Qatar after eight games, eight wins and zero goals conceded. Tunisia defeated Mali by a narrow 1-0 aggregate scoreline in their two-legged play-off. “The match itself wasn’t fun,” Tunisia’s Mohamed Drager admitted, “it was a violent affair, but that’s football.”
Here’s everything you need to know about a contest with hopefully less violence but one which may not be much more fun for Tunisia.
Prediction: Denmark 2-0 Tunisia
Mexico vs Poland
Mexico’s bid to reach ‘el quinto partido’ – the fifth match – begins on Tuesday afternoon against a Poland side just trying to get out of the group.
In each of the past seven World Cups, Mexico have fallen short in the round of 16. The home tournament of 1986 was the last time El Tri tasted the sweet nectar of a quarter-final. 1986 was also the year that Poland last made it beyond the group stage. Their fate was decided after just two games in 2018.
Here’s everything you need to know about the meeting between this pairing with clearly defined ambitions.
Prediction: Mexico 2-1 Poland
France vs Australia
France face Australia on Tuesday evening in a rematch of their opening group stage game at the 2018 World Cup.
The first-ever use of VAR at a World Cup awarded France a penalty which Antoine Griezmann converted en route to a 2-1 victory for the eventual champions. Australia couldn’t muster a single win in Russia and haven’t claimed a World Cup scalp since 2010.
Prediction: France 2-1 Australia