World Cup Rewind: Messi leads Argentina to Mexico, and more | Rare Techy
The pressure was on Lionel Messi and Argentina to bounce back from Tuesday’s shock loss to Saudi Arabia and the Conmebol representatives did just that against Mexico on Saturday.
Messi scored the opening goal for Argentina before assisting Enzo Fernandez’s insurance strike in a 2-0 Group C win over El Tri. Argentina finished second in Group C and played Poland in the final group stage.
Both teams struggled in front of goal in the opening 60 minutes of the match, but Messi would call on his number to help secure the goal of the match. Messi picked up a pass from Angel Di Maria from 25 yards before curling a low, left-footed drive past Guillermo Ochoa into the bottom-right corner.
This was Messi’s second goal in the tournament.
With Mexico pushing for an equaliser, it was Argentina who celebrated the three points when Fernandez provided the insurance strike. Fernandez followed a short corner from Messi before heading into the top corner of Ochoa’s net.
Emi Martinez made one save to earn his first World Cup clean sheet as Argentina moved a step closer to progressing to the Round of 16.
Mexico are bottom of the group needing a win against Saudi Arabia to have any chance of staying in Qatar. Argentina face Poland, who sit one point behind Robert Lewandowski and his Polish teammates.
Here’s a look at all of Saturday’s World Cup action:
France 2, Denmark 1
(Kylian Mbappe 61′, 86′) – (Andreas Christensen 68′)
France booked their place in the Round of 16 on Saturday with Kylian Mbappe starring in Didier Deschamps’ side against Denmark.
Mbappe scored twice including the winner in a 2-1 win over Denmark, as France secured top spot in Group D. Hugo Lloris saved one for France.
After Kasper Schmeichel beat Adrien Rabiot with a header in the 22nd minute, both sides remained level in the first half. Mbappe had a great chance to break the deadlock before half-time but his effort skied over the crossbar in the box.
The PSG star didn’t miss a beat in the 61st minute, using Theo Hernandez’s spot on the left and sending a tricky shot past Schmeichel. However, Denmark needed just seven minutes to tie things up when Andreas Christensen finished off Joachim Andersen’s pass in the box with a powerful header.
Mbappe would play the hero for France in the 86th minute as the 21-year-old headed home Antoine Griezmann’s cross to make it 2-1.
Denmark are ranked third and will face Australia on Wednesday as a win would see them into the 16th spot. France takes Tunisia in last place with the top spot already guaranteed.
Poland 2, Saudi Arabia 0
(Piotr Zieliński 39′, Robert Lewandowski 82′)
Poland secured their first win at the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Saturday as Robert Lewandowski celebrated his first goal of the tournament.
Piotr Zieliński opened the scoring six minutes before half-time before Lewandowski scored in the 82nd minute. Wojciech Szczesny made 5 saves for Poland.
Both teams had golden opportunities to take the lead, but failed to score. Szczesny made a fine save in the 14th minute and Saudi Arabia denied a shock reception before Krystian Bielik’s goal was cleared off the line in the 26th minute.
Lewandowski helped set up Poland’s opening goal, picking out Zielinski who confidently fired a shot into the back of the net.
Szczesny was called off before half-time after Juventus goalkeeper Salem Al-Dawsari was denied a penalty. Bielik was whistled for a foul in the box, but El-Dawsari and Mohammed Al-Breik had the chance to follow.
Saudi Arabia did everything in the second half to get an equaliser, but conceded the second goal to give Poland the win in the end. Abdulelah Al-Malki failed to clear the ball from his feet, allowing Lewandowski to steal the chance and capitalize with an insurance goal.
Poland faces Argentina on Wednesday and Saudi Arabia faces Mexico.
Tunisia 0, Australia 1
(Mitchell Duke 23′)
Australia stayed alive in Saturday’s Group D match with a 1-0 win over Tunisia.
Mitchell Duke’s first-half header combined with Mathew Ryan’s four-save save kept the Socceroos alive going into their final group match on Wednesday.
Duke scored the only goal of the match in the 23rd minute, taking advantage of a turnover in the box and scoring. Craig Goodwin’s cross from the left wing hung around the box and Duke made no mistake punishing the Tunisian defence.
Mohamed Dräger came close to leveling Tunisia before half-time, but Harry Souttar’s key block put Australia 1-0 up.
Youssef Msakni was denied twice in quick succession in the 72nd minute, forcing Ryan to parry his first effort before the veteran shot-stopper had a chance to follow up.
Australia will look to build on their first win and exit the tournament, setting up a showdown with Denmark on Wednesday. Tunisia will face France on the same day.