Qatar 2022 World Cup: Argentina survive World Cup scare to qualify for knockout stages
FIFA World Cup Argentina Poland

In what has already been a tournament for the ages, Group C reached an epic conclusion as Argentina qualified for the round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Poland.

A missed Lionel Messi penalty did not derail Argentina's efforts as Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez scored to send the South Americans to the round of 16 of the World Cup against a Poland team that didn't offer any threat.

Group C was the first group in the tournament to turn the World Cup on its head and produce the first upset as Saudi Arabia came from behind to beat Argentina in their opening match.

After a Lionel Messi penalty early on, Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari scored in the second half to complete a remarkable comeback for the Saudi Arabian team. It was one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history and the credentials of Albiceleste were questioned.

The second game against Mexico saw them endure a nervy start but they eventually grew into the game. In the second half, Lionel Messi proved to be decisive with a long range strike to win the game for his country.

With their win against Poland on Wednesday night, they overcame their shaky start and ended up group winners.

They will face Australia, the runners up of Group D in the round of 16 on Saturday, 3rd of December.

Poland fortunate to secure second spot

Although they lost to Argentina on Wednesday night, Poland managed to qualify for the last 16 on goal difference. Their performance against Argentina was very defensive and they played like a team that knew they did not need to win to advance to the knockout stages.

After a goalless draw against Mexico that saw Robert Lewandowski miss a crucial penalty, Poland went into the Saudi Arabia fixture knowing a win is imperative if they are going to qualify.

Lewandowski made his mark on the fixture first with an assist for Piotr Zielinski in the first half and his first ever World Cup goal in the second period. His 77th international goal also put him level with Pele on the list of all time international goal scorers. Because of Mexico's 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia, Poland will go through on goal difference.

It doesn't get any easier for Poland as they will be going up against the might of the defending World Champions, France on Sunday, December 4th. .

Mexico crash out of Group stages

It was a case of too little too late for Mexico as their best efforts were not enough to see them qualify for the round of 16.

A 20 minute opener by Henry Martin and a spectacular freekick by Luis Chavez made Mexico believe that they could pull off the impossible.

Going into stoppage time in their match, Poland's match with Argentina had ended and they only needed a goal to go through but in their pursuit for a goal, Saudi Arabia pegged them back though Salem Al-Dawsari in stoppage time and all hopes of qualification were dashed in that moment.

For the first time in eight tournaments, El Tri will not participate in the knockout stages. They will regret not being able to produce the kind of performance they did against Saudi Arabia in their first two games.

After a dream start to their tournament, Saudi Arabia will finish last in their group.

They made a good account of themselves in the group stages and the victory against Argentina will be the biggest result in the Nation's history (a public holiday was announced because of the win) but they will bow out of the tournament as expected before the tournament began.