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Argentina beat Poland to advance onto the knockout stages.
Argentina beat Poland to advance onto the knockout stages. Photo: Richard Sellers/Getty Images

Argentina advance to Round of 16, defeat Poland 2-0

Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julián Álvarez were the difference between the two sides.

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Leo Messi and Co. looked dominant on the final matchday of their group as they defeated Robert Lewandowski and Poland at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar. Even with the loss, Poland advanced with Argentina, as Mexico conceded a last-minute goal to Saudi Arabia, giving the Polish the one goal differential advantage to take them through to the knockouts. 

Second-half goals from midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez were enough to win the game. 

With the result, Argentina won Group C, keeping its hopes alive of taking home the World Cup trophy for the first time since Diego Marodona single handedly did so back in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Nobody expected such a turnaround after Messi and Co. suffered a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in its opening game. 

Today’s World Cup game for Messi was number 22, and the 999th of his career for club and country, breaking a record held by Maradona for the most by an Argentine in the tournament. 

It was an entertaining first-half as Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny stopped a Messi penalty given by VAR. The miss was also his second penalty miss in the tournament. Argentina made it tough on Szczesny throughout the contest. 

The Argentines went into the half having dominated the first 45 minutes, but had nothing to show for it as it was still tied 0-0, but Mac Allister would change things less than a minute into the second half. 

The Brighton player redirected a Nahuel Molina cross with a first-time hit that went past Szczesny, as the Juventus keeper could not keep it out. 

Teenage forward Alvarez doubled Argentina's lead in the 67th minute, receiving a pass from Enzo Fernandez in the box and firing it past Szczesny to secure the three points.

Argentina will now take on a scrappy Australia team that beat Denmark earlier today, while Poland will take on the reigning World Champions France on Sunday. 

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