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FIFA World Cup: Argentina outclass Poland despite Lionel Messi penalty miss to advance | Football News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Lionel Messi’s Argentina registered an impressive 2-0 win over Poland in their final World Cup Group C match at Stadium 974 in Doha on Wednesday to advance to the knockout stage where they will face Australia.
The match saw skipper Lionel Messi missing a first half penalty but goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez helped the South American side to top of the group with 6 points.
Despite the defeat Poland finished second in the group and will take on reigning champions France.

In the other Group C match, Mexico scored twice in the second-half in a thrilling last-ditch effort to stay in the World Cup, beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 but agonisingly missed out on the last 16 berth on goal difference.

After an action-packed goalless first half, Argentina took the lead just one minute into the second half when Allister got on the end of Nahuel Molina’s cross and, despite making weak contact, he saw his shot creep over the line with Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny beaten.

The goal was just reward for Argentina who had dominated possession while Poland barely managed to get out of their own half.
The second goal was the result of some patient buildup where Argentina knocked the ball around before Enzo Fernandez unlocked the defence with a through-ball for Julian Alvarez, who found space in the box and smashed it into the top corner.
CONTROVERSIAL PENALTY
Earlier, Poland were up in arms when Argentina were awarded a controversial penalty after a VAR check for a foul on Messi when Szczesny’s glove brushed his face as the Paris St Germain forward rose up for a header at the far post.
But Szczesny was up to the task and despite the thousands of Argentina fans raising the decibel levels inside the arena, he kept his composure and guessed correctly, diving to his left and using one hand to swat aside Messi’s effort from the spot.
Szczesny had been kept busy the entire half with the Poland defence breached time and again but the Juventus keeper stood firm to deny the Argentines who grew more confident with every attack.
He first denied Alvarez when the Manchester City forward broke through the offside trap before he tipped Angel Di Maria’s cross over the bar when his Juve team mate attempted to score directly from a corner kick.
But he could do nothing but scramble when Mac Allister took his shot even before Poland could settle down after the restart while Alvarez’s shot for the second goal was too good for any keeper.
(With inputs from agencies)

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