World Cup: Argentina and Poland in the round of 16. Outside Mexico and Saudi Arabia of Qatar 2022

The South Americans beat the Poles 2-0 who still qualify as runners-up in the group thanks to the goal difference over Mexico. Central Americans beat Saudis 2-1 but are out

POLAND-ARGENTINA 0-2

In the 48th minute Mac Allister scored. Low cross from Molina’s right wing for Mac Allister who shot low with the ball that kissed the post to the right of Szczesny and then went into the net.
In the 66th minute goal by Julian Alvarez. Enzo Fernandez pocketed the ball in the penalty area for Alvarez, who blocked and kicked into the top left corner of Szczesny. Doubling of the Seleccion.

SAUDI ARABIA-MEXICO 1-2

Martin’s goal in the 47th minute! On the developments of the corner kick Mexico unlocks the match; the shot on the near post by Montes is prey to the center forward Martin who deviates into the net from a few steps away.
In the 52nd minute a masterpiece from Chavez’s free kick! The Mexican’s thirty-metre left-hander overcomes the barrier and slips into the top corner! How wonderful for his first goal in the national team.
In the 95th minute Al Dawsari scored after a close exchange with Bhabri. Mexico’s pair of power plants let themselves be overtaken too easily and Arabia got a satisfaction.

Argentina in the round of 16, Poland knocked out but ahead. Messi misses a penalty, Mac Allister and Alvarez think about it
Argentina had to win, and it did. By overcoming Poland with a peremptory 2-0, the result of a one-sided performance always in attack, Albiceleste detaches the pass for the round of 16 where they will find Australia. Scaloni’s line-up was too strong, Poland was too reluctant and in the end, however, could celebrate: thanks to the goal difference, they conquered the round of 16 where they will face reigning world champions France. Not even Messi’s missed penalty at the end of the first half – thanks to a great save by Szczesny – stops Argentina’s run which, after the shock defeat against Saudi Arabia (which ended the positive streak which lasted for 36 matches) returns among the big favorites of Qatar 2022. Argentina faces Poland with the aim of winning and securing qualification for the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar. Even Poland, who start from 4 points and from first place in the group don’t want to take risks, with a draw they would be certain of qualification. Scaloni opts for a 4-3-3 formation leaving Lautaro Martinez on the bench, in his place Julian Alvarez starts from 1′, supported by the trio of attacking midfielders MacAllister-Messi-Di Maria.
Starter Enzo Fernandez (scored as a substitute for Mexico). Molina returns to the right in defense and Romero in the center (with Otamendi), who had played on their debut with Arabia. Michniewicz responded with a 4-4-2 formation, leaving Milik on the bench and preferring Swiderski alongside Lewandowski. For the rest, the other 10 confirmed, with the all-Italian defense made up of Szczesny in goal and Glik-Kiwior-Bereszynski in front of him; Zielinski behind the strikers. Argentina immediately starts the attack and after three minutes tries with Otamendi on the developments of a corner kick but misses the goal. Poland’s response was immediate (5′) with Bielik but his conclusion doesn’t worry Martinez too much. The start of the match is all for Albiceleste who keeps possession of the ball waiting for space and relies on Di Maria-Messi with the ‘Pulce’ who tries to make himself dangerous near Szczesny (7′). It’s still Messi trying (10′), but his shot is cleared without problems by Szczesny. Argentina pushes but Poland defends well, stemming the gusts even if they can’t restart.
At half an hour it was again Albiceleste who made themselves dangerous first with Alvarez, then after being rejected by the defence, Acuna arrived and grazed the post. Action repeated in the 37th minute: Mac Allister launches Julian Alvarez into space with a nice deep ball. Stop and left footed shot on goal, Szczesny closes the target but hits Messi, Mekkelie concedes the penalty after the intervention of the Var but from 11 meters the ‘flea’ is bewitched by the Juve goalkeeper who deflects with a great intervention, neutralizing the second penalty of this World Cup after the one in the match against Saudi Arabia. The failed penalty does not dishearten Argentina who continue their pressure in attack, but without finding the winning shot.
The second half opened in the sign of Argentina who found the well-deserved lead with Mac Allister who with a precise shot at the far post put the ball into the net, unleashing the party of the many Argentines present in the stands of the 574 Stadium in Doha. In the 5th minute we finally see Poland: Glik heads up and sends just wide. The inertia of the game does not change: Argentina continues to press and Poland defends with Lewandowski practically isolated. The Argentine doubling comes in the 23rd minute with Julian Alvarez with a right-footed shot that beats Szczesny. The script doesn’t change. Argentina came close to 3-0 several times, Poland almost didn’t play waiting for the result of Mexico Saudi Arabia: the 2-1 final of the Saudis rewarded Lewandowski and his companions who won qualification thanks to the goal difference.

Bitter victory over the Saudis, Mexico out. Coach Martino’s 11th goes 2-1 but is condemned by goal difference
With an aggressive second half, Mexico earned the victory over Saudi Arabia, but the goals from Martin and Chavez weren’t enough to take them to the round of 16 of the World Cup. Blame both for the seven yellow cards picked up by the Central Americans in the three matches in the group stage, against five for Poland (beaten 2-0 by Argentina in the other match in group C), and, in the final, for the carelessness that causes the goal by Al Dawsari and also shifts the goal difference in favor of the Poles. It ends 2-1 for Mexico against the Saudis, and many regrets from Martino’s 11, author of 26 goals on goal in the second half. One more goal would have been enough for the Central Americans to go on. Instead they make their way home. Renard is without four starting players (captain Salman al-Faraj, Saleh al-Shahrani and Muhammad al-Buraik through injury, and suspended Abdullah al-Maliki), but does not change his 3-4-3 formation. The first chance, already on the 3′, is Del Mexico. Lozano serves Vega, but the prompt exit of Al Owais averts the danger. Saudi Arabia’s response, right to Kanno’s volley, is very high. Neither of them can rely on tactics, and it shows on the pitch. For almost the entire first half, Mexico was preferred, who went close to scoring through Pineda on several occasions.
The South Americans raise their center of gravity by focusing on their best dribbling skills, to prevent Arabia’s counterattack attempts. Who in the 37th minute lost defender Al Bulayhi to an injury, replaced by Sharahili. The attack maneuver often passes from the feet of the Neapolitan Lozano, with Mexico encircling the Saudi area. In the 6 minutes of added time coach Renard’s team shakes up. First Gallardo has to stop rough Al Birakan launched into the net; then a header from the latter, served by Al Ghannam, comes out just a little. The turning point in the first minutes of the second half. In the 3rd minute Mexico passes from a corner. Sponda di Montes and Martin pushes the ball into the net from a few steps away. And in the 7th minute Martino’s formation doubled, after having wasted so much in the first 45′.
Chavez’s free-kick from 30 meters punches the barrier and is impregnable for Alowais. Mexico spreads in this phase and Lozano would score the 3-0 in the 11th minute, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Saudi Arabia seems to have run out of enthusiasm and in the 25th minute Martin, alone and well placed, wastes the opportunity to close the match by kicking out the Montes tower. Chavez is still dangerous from a free kick, but Olowais gets there this time. As the minutes went by, Saudi Arabia gave up more and more attacks and Mexico raged, throwing away various 3-0 chances. And, as often happens, after so much waste they suffer the goal. Al Dawsari surpasses the central defenders in agility and scores the most irrelevant of goals.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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