Argentina and Australia advance to knock out round of World Cup
Argentina advanced to the knock out round of the 2022 World Cup by beating Poland on Wednesday while Australia stunned Denmark with a 1-0 victory also earning a seat in the final 16.
While Poland will advance as the runner-up of Group C despite the loss on Wednesday, Tunisia failed to earn a spot despite beating defending champions France 1-0.
Argentina started out the match strong owning most of the ball and creating number of opportunities to shoot in the first half. However, despite starting out in promising fashion, the game was quiet for the first 37 minutes.
In the 38th minute, Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny crashed into Lionel Messi while the striker was trying a cross and Argentina was awarded a penalty as a result.
Messi himself stepped up to take the penalty but Szczęsny dived to his left keeping the ball out of the net and holding Argentina to a 0-0 draw until the end of the first half.
With that crucial save, Szczęsny became the first goalkeeper to save two penalties at a single World Cup tournament since Brad Friedel of the United States achieved the feat in 2002.
Messi has now missed two out of three penalties at the World Cup, excluding penalty shootouts.
In the second half, the deadlock was broken when Alexis Mac Allister scored his first-ever goal for Argentina.
Although Polish football star Robert Lewandowski desperately looking for an equalizer, Argentina’s dominance of the game continued into the second half.
That dominance paid off in the 68th minute when Álvarez struck the ball into the back of the net. Even with a two goal lead, Argentina kept hammering at the Polish goal with Alvarez narrowly missing out on his second goal of the match in the 74th minute.
Poland was only able to possess 26 percent of the ball throughout the entire match.
As of press time, Argentina will probably face runner-up of Group D Australia in the round of 16.
Despite the 2-0 loss, Poland will also advance to the knock out round as the runner-up of Group C and will face France.
Alongside Poland and Argentina, Australia also advances after beating Denmark, a team ranked 28 places above the Socceroos in the FIFA World Rankings.
A goal from Mathew Leckie gave Australia a lead in the 60th minute and the Socceroos did not let go of the lead until the very end to secure their spot in the round of 16 and win back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time ever in their footballing history.
An even bigger upset happened in the match between Tunisia and France when the African side beat Les Bleus 1-0.
France-born Wahbi Khazri of Tunisia scored the only goal of the game in the 58th minute. It marked only the third time that Tunisia won a match during their history of playing six World Cup tournaments.
However, because Australia beat Denmark to become runner-up in their group, Tunisia were still eliminated and failed to advance.
France had already booked their place in the knock out stage after a 2-1 win over Denmark on Saturday. Kylian Mbappe scored a brace for France, making them the first team to secure their knock out stage spot of the 2022 World Cup.
As of press time, 10 countries have qualified for the round of 16. The 10 countries advancing are the Netherlands, England, Argentina, France, Senegal, the United States, Poland, Australia, Brazil and Portugal. The top two of Group E and Group F alongside one country from Group G and Group H will join the 10 countries through to the knock out stage.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]