- Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez score as Argentina wins 2-0 against Poland.
- Argentina top the Group as they escape meeting France in the Knockout Rond of 16
- Messi missed a first-half penalty as Poland went through narrowly.
Argentina defeated Poland 2-0 at Stadium 974 thanks to goals from Alexis MacAllister and Julian Alvarez. Argentina won their group and advanced to round 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Poland’s close Qualification
Qualification was hanging in the balance for Poland until the very end, with Czeslaw Michniewicz’s side looking set to advance on fair play points before Saudi Arabia’s stoppage-time goal in their 2-1 loss to Mexico put the Poles through on goal difference.
Poland played out the final stages of their game, knowing that another goal by Argentina or Mexico would eliminate them from the competition. They needed a goalline clearance from Jakub Kiwior in stoppage time to keep the deficit at two.
Argentina dominated the first half of the game, controlling the majority of ball possession and creating the majority of the chances. Lionel Messi and Sevilla full-back Marcos Acuna dominated Argentina’s left flank.
Messi created an opportunity out of nothing in the 10th minute and fired a powerful left-footed strike towards the near post, which Wojciech Szczesny saved.
Just a few minutes later, the PSG forward floated a gorgeous ball towards Acuna, who failed to cut it back, forcing Szczesny to make another save.
Argentina was practically playing in Poland’s half. But chaos ensued in the 37th minute when Szczesny made a huge save to deny Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez. The ball, however, remained in play and was floated back into the box, where the Polish goalkeeper thought he had made another save by denying Messi the opportunity to get his head on the ball.
However, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) stepped in and asked the on-field referee to take another look at the monitor. Following further investigation, the referee decided to award Argentina the penalty, citing Szczesny’s second save as a foul on Messi.
Messi took the penalty and hit it hard to Szczesny’s left, who made a spectacular save to keep the score tied. With that save, Szczesny became only the second goalkeeper in World Cup history to save a penalty after having conceded it himself, joining Joel Bats for France against Brazil in 1986.
Second Half Goals
Alexis Mac Allister scored just one minute into the second half to put Argentina ahead. The Brighton midfielder scored after latching on to Nahuel Molina’s drilled cross from the right flank.
In the 67th minute, Alvarez doubled Argentina’s lead with a well-worked finish. Enzo Fernandez played a fine through ball to the Manchester City striker, who hit it with his side foot beyond the reach of Szczesny in goal.
Messi came close to scoring a couple of times but couldn’t complete the play. Argentina maintained their lead to win comfortably 2-0 at Stadium 974.
Argentina finished first in Group C, ensuring their place in the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.