Argentina faced Poland on Wednesday (30 November) in their final Group C match, knowing that a win would send them to the last 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez scored for La Albiceleste, propelling them to a 2-0 victory at Stadium 974 despite having their backs to the wall. Argentina topped their group at the 2022 FIFA World Cup as a result of the victory, putting them in a round-of-16 matchup with Australia, who finished second in Group D.
After just one minute of play, La Albiceleste won their first corner, giving them a strong start. Lionel Messi’s pass didn’t get past the first man, but Nicolas Otamendi got a cross in, and he couldn’t get Wojciech Szczesny to do anything.
Messi sprinted down the left side of the box in the tenth minute and got his shot off from a tight angle. Szczesny, the Poland goalkeeper, made a straightforward stop to keep his shot out.
Angel Di Maria attempted to direct Szczesny out with a corner kick in the 32nd minute. The danger was flagged by the Juventus goalkeeper, who tipped it over the bar.VAR asked the on-field official to take a closer look after Szczesny made contact with Messi inside the box five minutes later.
The two-time FIFA World Cup winners were awarded a spot kick after the referee determined that it was a criminal offense. Szczesny made an excellent save after the goalkeeper acrobatically dived to his left as Messi stepped up to take the ball.
In his debut at a FIFA World Cup, Manchester City forward Alvarez made a decisive save to give Argentina a two-goal advantage four minutes later. Messi received a superb low cross from Enzo Fernandez inside the Poland box a few minutes later. The seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or shot straight at the goalkeeper, allowing him to make a simple save.
The winners of the 1986 FIFA World Cup prevented Poland from making a lot of passes at once and continued to look for chances to increase their lead by two goals. Because Poland had a higher goal difference than Mexico, they were able to maintain their composure and avoid further humiliation, securing a spot in the last 16 of the tournament.
Julian Alvarez demonstrated exactly what he brought to the table by making his debut in the starting XI at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In Argentina’s final Group C match, he scored a superb goal to secure a comfortable victory. He was quick off the mark and always looked to make things happen.
Alvarez expertly controlled Fernandez’s firm pass in the 67th minute before coming inside and scoring with power and precision in the top-right corner.
Alvarez also completed 18 passes (85.7%), attempted two dribbles, executed an accurate cross, and won an aerial duel. Lautaro Martinez may have a hard time getting back into Lionel Scaloni’s starting XI for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after the effort he put in against Poland.
Right-back Nahuel Molina’s performance against Poland was memorable. He ran relentlessly up and down the left flank, prevented Poland from attacking from his side, and was always looking for opportunities in the final third.
Shortly into the second half, his perseverance paid off when he delivered an excellent low cross that Mac Allister was able to successfully put away.
On Wednesday, flanked by Rodrigo De Paul and Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandez operated through the middle of the pitch. He pushed up whenever he had the chance, distributed the ball almost flawlessly, and ensured that Polish midfielders never received enough of it.
To top it all off, he cleverly passed to Alvarez from the left flank, which led to the impressive goal scored by the Manchester City player.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi’s first-half penalty was saved by Szczesny. The Paris Saint-Germain player hit it at a height that made it easy for the Polish goalkeeper to stop it with his strong right hand. However, Messi did not let the missed spot kick dampen his spirits. He repeatedly charged Poland, opening multiple openings in their defense.
Messi had a tournament-high five chances in La Albiceleste’s final group-stage match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In addition, he completed four dribbles, hit four precise long balls, committed two tackles, and won seven duels.
In Argentina’s three-man midfield, Alexis Mac Allister played well against Poland on the left side. He made changes, fought for every ball, and covered every blade of grass on the field, scoring his first goal for Argentina with a neat goal to get the game started.
Mac Allister received a cross from Molina from the left and promptly hit the ball into the bottom left corner of Szczesny’s goal.
In addition to the crucial goal, Mac Allister completed 50 passes with a 96.2% accuracy rate, created a big chance, won all four of his ground duels, and made three key passes. Before being rested in the 84th minute, he also attempted three tackles and was flagged for a foul.
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