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HomeFIFA World CupArgentina Book Their Last 16 Spot, Poland Sneak In

Argentina Book Their Last 16 Spot, Poland Sneak In

Argentina are through to the last sixteen of the FIFA World Cup after beating Poland 2-0, and they were joined by the Polish from Group C despite Mexico’s 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.

Poland progressed on goal difference ahead of the Mexicans.

They join France, Australia, Holland, Senegal, England, the USA in the last sixteen after completing their groups. Portugal and Brazil, who will complete their group-stage matches on Friday, have also already qualified.

Argentina 2-0 Poland

After a number of chances, the Argentines were awarded a penalty in the 36th minute, for a foul by Wojciech Szczesny on Lionel Messi, after the Polish keeper was adjudged to have smacked Messi in the face. VAR checked the decision, and the referee stuck with his decision. 

Messi picked himself up to take the kick, but Szczesny made a fantastic save to deny the Argentinean captain. It was the second penalty saved by the 32-year-old this tournament.

It was a first half dominated by Argentina, but at the break, it remained goalless, with Szczesny making eight saves including the spot kick.

Argentina were not to be denied however in the opening minute of the second half, as Alexis MacAllister’s neatly-placed shot had the beating of Szczesny. The assist by Nahuel Molina from the right.

It was 2-0 to Argentina in the 67th minute as Julian Alvarez’s well-struck shot from just inside the area flew into the far corner.

The Polish hung on, knowing another goal would end their qualification hopes, and there was a goal-line clearance in stoppage time to deny Argentina the third.

In the end Poland did enough, as they snuck through ahead of Mexico on goal difference.

Saudia Arabia 1-2 Mexico

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Meanwhile, in the other match, it was the Mexicans who had the dominant first half, but despite more than 70% of the possession and numerous chances, somehow were unable to find the back of the net in the opening stanza. At half-time, Saudi Arabia held on for the 0-0 scoreline.

Mexico finally broke the deadlock three minutes into the second as Henry Martin tapped in from close range, with an assist by Cesar Montes.

It was 2-0 in the 54th minute, as Luis Chavez scored a great free kick, and edged themselves closer to a possible qualification place.

But they needed that third goal, and they thought they had it just before full-time, but it was ruled out for off-side.

When the final whistle blew in the other game, Mexico had three minutes to find that goal, but instead, it was the Saudis who pulled a goal back, with Salem Al Dawsari getting on the scoresheet, and Mexican hearts were broken.

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