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Poland vs. Argentina – Football Match Report – November 30, 2022

Argentina and Lionel Messi turned in a dominant display to beat Poland 2-0 at the World Cup to win Group C and advance to the last 16 at Stadium 974 in Qatar on Wednesday.

Second-half goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez were plenty for Argentina, who were shocked by Saudi Arabia in their group opener, to keep their quest for a first World Cup title since 1986 alive.

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Messi was playing in his 22nd game at the World Cup — and 999th of his career for club and country — breaking a tie with Diego Maradona for the most by an Argentine in the world’s biggest tournament.

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a Messi penalty that was awarded by VAR as Argentina dominated the first 45 minutes but had nothing to show for it with the halftime score 0-0.

Szczesny had been kept busy the entire half with the Poland defence breached time and again, but the Juventus keeper stood firm to deny the Argentines who grew more confident with every attack.

He first denied Alvarez, who broke through the offside trap before he tipped Angel Di Maria’s cross over the bar when his Juve teammate attempted to score directly from a corner kick.

The deserved opener for Argentina came right after the restart when Brighton striker Mac Allister redirected a Nahuel Molina cross with a first-time shot that trickled past Szczesny and off the far post.

Manchester City teenager Alvarez announced himself on the world stage and doubled Argentina’s lead midway through the second half, picking up a pass from Enzo Fernandez in the penalty area and lashing an unstoppable shot past Szczesny to all but secure the three points.

The result sets up a round-of-16 match for Argentina against Australia, while Poland, who finished second ahead of Mexico on goal difference, will play Group D winners France in the knockout phase.