Mac Allister and Alvarez secure last-16 place for Argentina, while victory still saw El Tri out on goal difference after tragic finale
World Cup 2022 – Group C concluded as Argentina was through thanks to two goals against Poland and Mexico fell painfully short of the last 16 of the World Cup despite a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
Group C was the obvious group of death, as four teams had their chances of qualifying and only to be decided in the last group games.
- Lionel Messi missed his second penalty in 2022 World Cup, this time against Poland
- Mac Allister and Alvarez came to the rescue for Argentina with two great goals
- Mexico scored twice against Saudi Arabia, but fell short due to goal difference and left behind Poland
Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico
El Tri came very close to a narrow 3-0 victory that could have sealed them the ticket to last 16, with an inferior fair play record to Poland forced them to win by at least 3 goals to nil.
Tata Martino’s men dominated in the first half with Alexis Vega denied by Mohammed Al Owais in the third minute.
As frustrated for both sides, there were no goals before the break, but Mexico looked to score at any time.
The second period was lighted up with three goals scored in a thrilling race.
It started with Cesar Montes flicked Chavez’s corner into the centre of the six-yard box, where Henry Martin could not miss to score the opener.
Following was an absolute worldie to score his first goal for Luis Chávez in the world cup.
With plenty of minutes to go, Mexico strived for a third goal which could helped them advance as Poland was being trailed by two goals down against Argentina.
El Tri’s Hirving Lozano and substitute Uriel Antuna saw potentially precious goals ruled out for offside, leaving Mexico agonizingly short heading into stoppage time.
Mexico needed a goal…but it’s Saudi Arabia and Salem Al-Dawsari who sealed Mexico’s fate, when Al Dawsari strolling through to net an effort that ultimately meant little but felt like a heartbreaker for Mexico.
Mexico have been eliminated in the group stages of the World Cup for the first time since 1978 — they had progressed from the group stages in each of their previous eight participations.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia have been eliminated in the group stages for the fifth time in six participations at the World Cup (1998, 2002, 2006, 2018 and 2022).
Poland 0-2 Argentina
Second-half goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez helped Argentina secure their last-16 place with a 2-0 victory over Poland.
However, the first half highlight was Lionel Messi’s penalty miss at Stadium 974.
Argentina needed a win to decide their own fate and avoid facing France in the round of 16.
Albiceleste had the best shot to break the deadlock with And Lionel Scaloni’s was the better side for most.
6 minutes before the break, they were awarded yet, another controversial penalty as Messi was punched in the face by Poland’s keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
But cool as you liked, the Juventus’ shot-stopper brilliantly saved Messi’s first-half spot-kick.
The PSG man is now the only player in World Cup history to miss two penalties, not sure if he’s still the one to take it in the latter stage for Argentina….
Poland offering little at the other end with the obvious tactics was to play for a draw, or at least, get the least number of cards as possible.
Scaloni’s side broke through within a minute of the restart; Mac Allister arriving to steer Nahuel Molina’s precise cross into the far corner.
Argentina doubled their lead in the 67th minute as a patient build-up brought the ball from Enzo Fernandez to Julilan Alvarez, who turned before firing into the top corner.
Substitute Lautaro Martinez almost added a third goal before Nicolas Tagliafico was denied on the line by Jakub Kiwior.
But, as news filtered through of the result elsewhere in Group C, both sides could celebrate the continuation of their World Cup journey after the final whistle.
What’s next for Argentina and Poland
Both nations will play their last-16 ties this weekend. Argentina face Australia at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, with Poland taking on France the following day.
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