However, the South Americans totally collapsed in the second period as Hervé Renard's side staged an epic comeback against this year's favourites with two goals in five minutes courtesy of strikes from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari in the 48th and 53rd minute respectively.
The shocking upset was met with widespread reactions on social media with fans taunting Argentina skipper Messi, following the disappointing result.
But Super Eagles legend Mikel Obi, has now shared his admiration for the PSG maestro and believes he can help Lionel Scaloni's Albaceleste bounce back.
"The result doesn't change my prediction, definitely not. I still think they will go all the way. I'm a big Messi fan so I hope he can still go all the way," he revealed in an interview with Dubai-based OAP Robbie Greenfield.
When also asked about what other teams to look out for this year's edition, Mikel said: Of course, England is going to be there, France, Brazil.. I think one of them are going to do it but I'm still sticking with Argentina."
Mikel also added his admiration for Messi who he described as the greatest player ever.
"There is still hope [for Argentina]. I mean the greatest player ever in my opinion, I still think he's going to do it," he said.
Mikel makes his feelings clear about Cristiano Ronaldo amid Manchester United exit
Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday night, November 22, 2022, announced the termination of the 37-year-old's contract by mutual consent, following his explosive interview with popular journalist Piers Morgan.
Following the news, Super Eagles legend Mikel Obi, has now revealed his disposition towards the Portuguese superstar.
" I've never been a Ronaldo fan really. For me, when a player has so much ego, I don't really get it. He's never been one of my favourite players and that's why I always go for Messi really," he said in an interview with Dubai Eye.
When asked about the problem the former Manchester United star poses to other manager's dressing room, Mikel said:
"No definitely, I mean if someone comes out and give such an interview, what makes you think, if he signs for your club in January he won't do the same?
So, I mean every club is going to be aware of that....but listen he is Cristiano Ronaldo, he's one of the greatest players to ever have played the game. I think he's going to get another club in January and continue his football career.
But for me, It's just a horrible scenario, he's done so much for the club, and to see it end this way, it's just horrible. On his part really, I would say, that interview shouldn't have been done, wrong timing as well.
It's just not right. It doesn't look right for such a player that has achieved so much in the game."
The former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder also commented when asked if the bombshell interview would have tarnished his legacy at Old Trafford.
"I think a little bit yeah. Even his fans as well right now, they don't agree with the interview. It's very hard to defend him," Mikel added.
The 37-year-old Ronaldo scored 145 goals in 346 appearances across two spells for Manchester United and is currently expected to start for Portugal when they take on Ghana on Thursday, November 23 in their opening Group H match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.