Saudi Arabia fans celebrate shock win against Argentina

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar began on November 20, and it's been an eventful couple of days of football.

In fact, if your national team is the current continental champion, chances are they are not performing too well at the winter tournament.

"The South American champions, the African champions and the Asian champions have already lost at this World Cup and the European champions didn't even qualify," one person tweeted.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Here's a breakdown of what this insane statistic means, and why to expect the unexpected in the beautiful game...

Copa América winners - Argentina

Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022Photo by ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina went into the tournament as the favourites to win, they do have Lionel Messi in their team after all and they had won 36 consecutive matches - not to mention the Argentines won the current Copa América winners.

Given their unbeaten streak, many thought their Group C matches would be a breeze.

However, their opening match today (November 22) delivered one of the World Cup's greatest shocks after they lost to Saudi Arabia in a 1-2 defeat.

It was also the first time Argentina have lost a game in which Messi has scored since 2009 against Spain, so understandably had his head in his hands in reaction to the shocking defeat.

Saudi Arabia has even declared a public holiday to mark the World Cup win.

Though Argentina could turn things around in their next Group C matches when they play Mexico on November 26 and then Poland on November 30.


Africa Cup of Nations champions - Senegal

Edouard Mendy of Senegal acknowledges the fans after their sides defeat during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Senegal and Netherlands at Al Thumama Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Senegal won the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time but so far hasn't replicated this success at the World Cup.

In their opening match, the Senegalese side faced their first Group A opponents, the Netherlands.

The Dutch team ended up winning the game thanks to goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen.

Next, Senegal faces the host nation Qatar on November 25, and Ecuador on November 29.


Asian Cup winners - Qatar

Qatar players huddle prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Qatar national team previously won the Asia Cup in 2019 and also has the advantage of playing at home as their nation are the World Cup hosts.

But so far these factors don't seem to have helped their success after they were defeated in their opening match against Ecuador on November 20.

This loss also means Qatar's football team has the unwanted record of becoming the first-ever host nation to lose a World Cup opening match.

In the coming days, they will play against Senegal on November 25, and then the Netherlands on November 29.


European champions - Italy

Giorgio Chiellini and Jorginho of Italy reacts at the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier knockout round play-off match between Italy and North Macedonia at Stadio Comunale Renzo Barbera on March 24, 2022 in Palermo, Italy Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

While the previous teams mentioned will be disappointed with how they have performed so far at the World Cup, Italy the Euro 2022 champions failed to even qualify for the tournament.

Although Italy won the Euros last year after defeating England in the final, Roberto Mancini's side lost to North Macedonia 1-0 in a play-off match back in March this year after a 92nd-minute goal sealed their fate.

Despite previously winning the World Cup four times (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006) it is the second time in a row that Italy has failed to qualify for the competition as the team failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Maybe we'll see them again at the 2026 World Cup?

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)