World Cup 2022 Recap: Argentina reach last-16, Australia stun Denmark

World Cup 2022 Recap: Argentina reach last-16, Australia stun Denmark

Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Robert Lewandowski’s Poland join France, Brazil in the Round of 16 of the World Cup 2022 after finishing as Group G leaders. Argentina finished on top of Group C after beating Poland 2-0 to reach the knockout round of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez’s goals were enough for Lionel Scaloni’s side to erase their huge upset in the opening of the tournament as they advanced in the tournament as group winners. 

“Now another World Cup begins,” said Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who played an Argentine-record 22nd World Cup game. “and hopefully we can continue to do what we did today.” Both sides did not score until the second half, with Messi failing to convert a first-half penalty. It was Messi’s second penalty so far in this edition of the tournament and the 31st penalty he missed in his career. Get free soccer predictions here! 

Mac Allister broke the deadlock just a minute into the second half through Nahuel Molina’s cross before Alvarez added another in the 67th minute after combining well with Enzo Fernandez. “We wanted to make amends for that Saudi Arabia game because we knew we could play better,” Mac Allister said. “We played well collectively and it fills us with confidence.” 

The South American giants opened their World Cup campaign with a huge loss to Saudi Arabia 2-1, one of the biggest upsets in the history of the World Cup that also ended their 36-game unbeaten run. It was followed by a 2-0 win against Mexico that saved them from an early exit scare. Messi scored in both games. Poland also progressed despite the loss as they secured second place on goal difference.

Meanwhile, third place Mexico were eliminated in the tournament on goals scored and goal difference despite winning against Saudi Arabia 2-1 at Lusail Stadium, ending a run of seven straight tournaments where they progressed from the group stage. Argentina is set to face Australia in the round of 16, while Poland will take on holders France over the weekend. 

In other group games, Australia propelled in the next round of the tournament as Mathew Leckie scored the only goal of the match, knocking out Denmark and sending the Socceroos through to the last 16  for the first time since 2006. Leckie scored Australia’s winner in the 60th minute and they managed to hold it until the final whistle. “I’m proud, exhausted, everything really,” Leckie said. “We battled until the end.”

Denmark were left at the bottom of Group D as Tunisia upset holders France 1-0 to finish third. Elsewhere, Christian Pulisic’s first half goal was enough to send the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) in the round of 16 of the World Cup for the first time since 2014, beating Iran to set up a clash against the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford scored a brace as England beat Wales 3-0  to top Group B, reaching the round-of-16 of the World Cup. 

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