Not in many decades have we seen such a shock in a World Cup game.
In their fifth World Cup and their first since 2006, Saudi Arabia caused a proverbial earthquake by beating Argentina in a result that will have sent shockwaves throughout the tournament.
We have seen one or two surprising results so far, including Japan beating Germany also by a 2-1, but there has been nothing within living memory that quite compares to the 51st-best team in the world beating the 3rd.
Saudi Arabia will now have its sights set on qualification for the knockout phase, something they can take another giant leap towards with a positive result here.
Poland was rather disappointing in their 0-0 draw with Mexico, a game in which they offered very little going forward at any stage of the game.
They did, however, miss a penalty when star striker Robert Lewandowski fluffed his big chance from the spot. It was a miss that typified the game as a whole, which had little quality in front of the goal.
You feel that Poland needs a victory to put itself in contention to go through.
Poland will have been disappointed to have come away from the game against Mexico with just a point, considering their penalty miss during the second half.
It was the ideal opportunity to take command of Group C after Argentina’s dismal defeat to Saudi Arabia. The way it stands, all four teams will now harbor hopes of qualifying for the Round of 16.
If Poland can claim victory here, they will go level on points with the Saudis, as well as potentially either Argentina if they beat Mexico. That will leave a thrilling finale in the final round of fixtures.
To get there, however, Poland has to win here. Lewandowski was starved of service for almost the entire game and Poland’s most pressing priority was to find him in the area with greater frequency.
Poland’s last five goals have all been set pieces, which shows you how little they create from open play.
Star Man – Robert Lewandowski
You would have bet your house that Lewandowski would have scored that penalty against Mexico. The striker has been prolific for the past 10 years at every level and you would expect him to score if he is given good service.
Saudi Arabia Preview
We didn’t have to wait too long for the first major footballing story of the tournament.
In only the fifth game of the World Cup, Saudi Arabia delivered a shock for the ages. It didn’t appear as though it would be that way, however. Argentina scored first and had another three ruled out for offside.
Indeed, that high defensive line of Saudi Arabia almost got them into trouble on numerous occasions, only for the lineman’s flag to save them.
In the end, it was this intense pressing that won them the game, but it is likely to get them into trouble against teams that can exploit that particular weakness.
Whether Poland is the team to do that, without a great deal of pace up front, remains to be seen.
The Saudis will aim to do things in a similar way here.
Star Man – Salem Al Dawsari
Scored the winner during an incredible five-minute comeback spell for the Saudis, a just reward for his incredible hard work throughout the match.
Poland vs Saudi Arabia Key Players to Watch:
Poland: Despite missing the penalty against Mexico, Polish captain Lewandowski remains the key to their hope in the world cup. The Barcelona striker did well against Mexico without scoring a goal. But the game against Saudi could be the ultimate time for him to break his deadlock.
Saudi Arabia: Salem al-Dawsari who scored the winning goal against Argentina will be crucial to Saudi Arabia’s attack. He did everything well from accurate passing to maintaining the attacks against Argentina. He will once again be the key to their hope of another miracle in this game.
So far, we’ve seen that most of the games at this World Cup have been close going into the final minutes of the game.
Only England’s win over Iran, France’s win over Australia, and Spain’s victory over Costa Rica have been done and dusted approaching the end of the game.
You feel that this will be a tense encounter. Saudi Arabia, with three points on the board, won’t need to panic and take needless risks, while Poland can’t afford to lose this and doesn’t have the best firepower upfront.
Despite Lewandowski, you wonder where the goals will come from for Poland.
A win for Poland could be the most likely result.
Poland 2-1 Saudi Arabia.