September 23, 2023

Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 victory over Argentina on Tuesday will go down as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history — but it came at a cost.

After going down a goal 10 minutes into the match, Saudi Arabia roared back to score twice early in the second half and held off relentless Argentinian attacks until the final whistle at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

It was in the middle of one such attack that Saudi defender Yasser Al-Shahrani suffered a gruesome injury after a collision with goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais.

As Al-Owais left his line to punch away a cross shot, his raised knee made contact with Al-Shahrani’s face. Al-Shahrani appeared to be knocked out by the initial blow, then slammed his head a second time as he came crashing to the ground.

WARNING: Some viewers might find the following video disturbing.


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The goalkeeper immediately motioned to the sideline for medics to help Al-Shahrani. Play was delayed for several minutes as Al-Shahrani received medical attention and was eventually carried off the field on a stretcher.

Gulf Today reported that he suffered a fractured jaw and facial bones and needed to undergo surgery for internal bleeding.

The incident sparked an outpouring of support for the injured player, as well as criticism toward officials.


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Al-Shahrani played a strong game before the injury, leading all players in interceptions and clearances, according to Squawka.

The game started off according to plan for Argentina, a team that had been considered among the favorites to win the entire tournament.

The South American team was awarded a penalty kick after a video review early in the match. Lionel Messi, seven-time FIFA player of the year, calmly converted from the penalty spot.

Argentina looked poised to run away with the match but instead had three goals ruled out for offsides.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Saudi Arabia made Argentina pay for failing to cushion its lead. Saleh Alshehri beat his defender to the outside and tucked a low shot just inside the far post.

Just five minutes later Saudi Arabia took an astonishing lead when Salem Aldawsari blasted a shot into the corner of the goal from the top of the box.

Though the loss to Saudi Arabia was a massive sting, it doesn’t spell the end of the World Cup for Argentina. Wins over Mexico on Saturday and Poland on Wednesday would be enough to earn the team a spot in the round of 16.

Saudi Arabia will look to keep the magic alive against Poland on Saturday and Mexico on Wednesday.