World Cup: Argentina Outfoxes Poland, Both Nations Advance

By Chidi Nwoke, Abuja.

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South American champions Argentina advanced to the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after beating Poland 2-0 in their Group C encounter that also saw Lionel Messi miss a penalty, while Poland squeezed into the last 16 on goal difference ahead of Mexico.

Argentina went into the game a point behind Poland, with talisman Lionel Messi up-front supported by Julian Alvarez and Angel Di Maria. Poland started a front-two of Robert Lewandowski and Karol Swiderski, needing only a point to advance.

The game started with Argentina dominating possession with Messi testing Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny early. Moments later, Alvarez and Marcos Acuna threatened, but missed their targets. Then just before halftime Argentina were awarded a penalty, but Messi’s effort was saved by the outstanding Szczesny.

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (1) saves penalty from Lionel Messi during World Cup match.

Poland brought on Michal Skoras and Jakub Kaminski at the break to give Lewandowksi more options in attack. However, Argentina’s opener arrived a minute later.

Midfielder Alexis Mac Allister found the net through Nahuel Molina’s assist to score his first international goal for Argentina in the 46th minute.

Argentina midfielder Alexis Mac Allister (20) scores goal against Poland.

As Argentina bombarded forward in search of more goals, they found fortune through Alvarez as he extended the lead for the South Americans.

Midfielder Enzo Fernandez threaded a pass that found Alvarez in space and he did enough to create space to curve in a powerful shot, sending the fans at the Stadium 974 into a frenzy.

Argentina striker Julian Alvarez scores goal against Poland.

Poland had no answers to Argentina’s attack and nearly conceded another if not for the heroics of Sczesny, who denied Messi from registering a goal in the match.

The match finished 2-0 in favour of Argentina as they progressed to the last 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in style.

Argentina go through as Group C winners with six (6) points from three games, while Poland go through as runners-up with four (4) points. The Poles advanced ahead of Mexico, who beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 but crashed out of the competition on goal difference, as they finished third.

Messi’s Argentina will now face Group D runners-up Australia in the last 16 game, while Poland challenge Group D winners and defending champions France.

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