World Cup 2022 – Argentina marches to group victory despite Messi’s missed shot: Poland loses in the round of 16

While one point would have been enough for leaders Poland (four points) to advance, Argentina (three points) were under pressure and needed a win to reach the round of 16.

Coach Czeslaw Michniewicz made a change in Poland’s starting line-up after beating Saudi Arabia 2-0. Karol Swiderski replaced Akadiusz Milik in attack alongside Robert Lewandowski.

Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni made three substitutions after beating Mexico 2-0. Cristian Romero defended for Lisandro Martinez and Enzo Fernandez replaced Guido Rodriguez in defensive midfield. Manchester City star Julián Álvarez made a comeback for Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.


Szczesny very modestly: “I’m actually not a penalty killer”


The game in the first half developed as expected given the group constellation. While the Poles got off to a brave start with a shot on goal by Krystian Bielik, the Europeans were increasingly busy with defensive work as the game progressed (5′).

Argentina dominated the game and recorded two shots from Lionel Messi in the first quarter of an hour, which Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny threw out (7′, 11′). The multiple world footballer then shone as a chance preparer for Marcos Acuña, who missed two fine lob assists from Messi from a tight angle (17th, 19th). The white-reds mainly closed the center, so Argentina acted a lot on the wings.

The Selección didn’t take their foot off the accelerator and missed a double chance through Álvarez and Acuña (28′). A little later, Álvarez failed again in a one-on-one against Szczesny and shortly afterwards Messi missed the greatest chance of the first half with a controversial penalty kick against the Polish goalkeeper (36′, 39′).

In the second round, the Albiceleste got off to a good start. Alexis Mac Allister got the deserved lead with a low shot from Nahuel Molina (46′). Poland just missed Kamil Glik’s direct response with a header (49′).

Poland tried more offensive action in the second half, but Argentina remained dangerous as they had more space. Álvarez and Mac Allister again missed good chances and Messi’s attempt also got stuck in the Polish chain (56th, 61st, 64th).

Messi and Co. kept control of the game and converted their superiority into the second goal. Álvarez flicked the ball into the gable after a great pass from Enzo Fernandez (67′). Shortly thereafter, the youngster missed his brace (73rd).

Although Mexico led 2-0 in the parallel encounter and put pressure on Poland from afar, Lewandowski and his team-mates continued to rely on the defensive, which Messi and his teammates repeatedly overcame. Shortly before the end, substitute Lautaro Martinez and Nicolas Tagliafico again missed the third goal (86′, 90’+3′). In the end, the result was enough for both teams to qualify for the round of 16, as Mexico conceded the 2-1 draw against Saudi Arabia in the parallel game.

The voices:

Lionel Messi (Argentina): “The previous game gave us a lot of calm and we went out thinking we had to win. I’m angry because I missed the penalty, but the team was even stronger after my mistake. We knew that first goal would change the game. We have to keep calm and take it game by game. Now another World Cup is starting and hopefully we can continue what we did today.”

Julián Álvarez (Argentinian): “I’m happy personally and happy for the team. We played a great game and achieved our goal, that was the most important thing.”

Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina): “I’m happy because it was a convincing performance. We were always looking for the goal. I think we’re back to the team we were before. We played more with the ball, we were calm and didn’t hesitate. We have a great one match played.”

Robert Lewandowski (Poland): “It’s a big win for us. The next game against France is a challenge. We didn’t play so well today, but we can improve, have fun and push ourselves until the next game.”

Wojciech Szczesny (Poland): “It wasn’t so nice, it was a long evening for us, but it ended well.”

Tweet about the game:

That was noticeable: offensive beats defensive

Argentina withstood the pressure and presented the Poles in the style of a top team. The Albiceleste dominated the game and recorded a huge plus in the shot on goal comparison. After Szczesny was able to save the red-whites in the first half, coach Michniewicz’s team’s defensive approach didn’t pay off. Still, it was enough to get ahead.

The stats: 2

Poland goalkeeper Szczesny saved his team the zero, especially in the first half, with outstanding saves and a saved penalty against Messi. It was his second saved penalty in a row in the current tournament.

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