World Cup: Lionel Messi's Argentina story means that Saturday's game is box-office
For Argentina's stupefied players, it is probably just as well.
La Albiceleste's World Cup story since Diego Armando Maradona lifted the most iconic trophy in sport at the Estadio Azteca in 1986 and embraced it with the sort of love that is usually reserved for a father when they cradle their newborn for the first time has been torturous.
As emblematic as that image of Maradona is, a picture of a morose Lionel Messi, his long-time heir apparent, trudging off the pitch disconsolately is becoming just as omnipresent in mind's eye.
Those in sky blue and white suffered every bit as much in the stands of Lusail Stadium as Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
The millions watching back home will not have breakfasted well either.
It was impossible to watch Messi after the conclusion of these latest astonishing Group C events and not think of past disappointments. Kazan in 2018, Rio in 2014, Cape Town in 2010 and Berlin in 2006.
The difference this time is that Messi still has a shot of redemption in his last World Cup. One of the great football nations will be gathering in prayer against their old Mexican rivals on Saturday. It is knock-out football from now on.
It has been pointed out by several that Argentina lost their first game of Italia 90 in a similar sized shock against those indomitable lions of Cameroon - with the Saudis matching them every bit in terms of heart, desire, athleticism, power and inspiration - and somehow managed to drag themselves into the final, kicking and screaming quite literally.
If Messi's Argentina do change the narrative after a result which was every bit as stunning as those events against Cameroon at the San Siro, then it will surely make for one of the epic World Cup tales with one of the best ever at the heart of it.
In their successful tournaments of yore, Argentine sides have possessed brawn to compliment the beauty of a Maradona, Messi or Mario Kempes.
Previously, they had the likes of Oscar Ruggeri, Walter Samuel and of course, the great Daniel Passarella. Players who could mix it. Play or fight, your choice.
While lacking the pace and wit to get behind the Saudi's high defensive line, their physicality was also inferior to their opponents on the day. In the second half, they looked ill at ease and this was no smash-and-grab by Herve Renard's braves.
So far this has been a tournament that looks designed for power as much as polish. At the back, Spurs defender Cristian Romero looked particularly under-cooked and susceptible - his last game for Spurs before the World Cup was on October 26.
In the engine room, Rodrigo de Paul, linked heavily with a move to Leeds United in the summer of 2020, toiled in particular. Even Messi looked a little lost.
Was complacency an issue? Possibly. Argentina came into the Saudi game on the back of a 36-match unbeaten streak and were bestowed with many bouquets. Not just from their adoring fans but across the world's media.
They led through Messi's early penalty and saw three first-half goals disallowed for offside. The second, scored by Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez, was very unlucky to be ruled out.
Dealing with unfortunate events and adversity is part of World Cup life. It was Argentina's palpable inability to regroup from a two quick setbacks amid an atmosphere which saw the Saudi's take over on the pitch and in the stands which was particularly damning.
Huge decisions are now lie in wait for coach Lionel Scaloni, who will now quickly find out about the ferocity of the Argentine sporting press in the build-up to Saturday.
Defeat is unthinkable not just for his team, but for him - regardless of success in the Copa America versus Brazil in their own Maracana backyard in 2019 and in the 'Finalissima' UEFA Cup of Champions against Italy at Wembley earlier this year.
The clamour for Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez to start has begun in particular.
If you have any plans for Saturday night, it might be best to change them. Argentina versus Mexico looks box-office.The Mexicans were knocked out in 2010 and 2006 by their rivals and have a score to settle.
A 2-1 loss in the latter tournament in Germany - with Mexico very unfortunate to lose out 2-1 in extra time in Leipzig - is particularly lamented.
For the time being, let's savour one of the greatest World Cup results of modern times. Perhaps ever.
Goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari will be played many times over in the coming days. Who can deny the glorious Green Falcons their place in the sun.
Just as Cameroon's victory in 1990 represented a seismic one for African football, so the Saudi's magnificent win has the potential to do the same for the game in the Arab world.