Poland squeeze through to the Round of 16 and Argentina tops Group C

Poland's goal difference takes them to the Round of 16 and Argentina tops Group C

Lionel Messi‘s Argentina are through to the round of 16 after winning their final group stage fixture against Poland. Messi zigzagged through the Polish defense for a number of times before winning a first-half penalty which was saved by Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny

Despite the number 10 failing to score, Brighton’s Mac Allister and Manchester City‘s Julian Alvarez turned up for the occasion as both of them found the back of the net in the second-half. Poland on the other hand somehow reached the last 16 after enduring their first loss in the World cup against Argentina. 

Poland’s better goal difference than Mexico is what took them through but there is still a lot of work needed to be done before they meet France in the Round of 16 on Sunday. Their progress to the last 16 will give them a sigh of confidence and relief as they did so for the first time since 1986. 

In their previous three participations (2002, 2006 and 2018) Poland were out of the World cup from the group stages itself. Their record against South Americans haven’t been great lately losing their last 4 encounters including last night’s 2-0 loss.

They were able to keep 2 clean sheets in the World cup, once against Mexico and the other against Saudi Arabia. However, Szczesny failed to keep his third consecutive clean sheet but he did save a crucial penalty taken by Messi to keep his side alive in the game. 

Szczesny has been the best goalkeeper in the tournament so far with Most saves (18), Most saves in a single game (9) and he is also the second goalkeeper top save a penalty taken by Lionel Messi since June 2021. Poland squeezed through to the round of 16 thanks to Saudi Arabia who scored a goal against Mexico’s 2-1 victory.

Meanwhile, things look bright for Argentina as they have reached the last 16 for the fifth consecutive time. Number 10 Messi have set a few records of his own last night as he is the oldest player ever to register 5+ chances and 5+ dribbles in a world cup since Diego Maradona in 1994.

Moreover, since making his debut, Messi has never been eliminated in the group stages of a tournament in his entire career for both club and country. He also overtook the great Maradona’s record of most World cup appearances for Argentina (21) as he Messi played his 22nd game of the World cup.

With Poland taking the second place and Argentina topping Group C, they will face France and Australia respectively. Talking about their round-of-16 fixtures, Argentina are expected to beat Australia to proceed to the next round while France suffered a set back against Tunisia last night but that might not faze the reigning champions.

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