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Messi spurs Argentina, Mbappe seals last 16 place for France

Lionel Messi (C), Julian Alvarez (R), Angel di Maria of Argentina celebrate after scoring during the Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Nov. 26, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)

🌟 #FIFAWorldCup 2022

⚽ Tunisia 0 Australia 1
⚽ Poland 2 Saudi Arabia 0
⚽ France 2 Denmark 1
⚽ Argentina 2 Mexico 0

Doha, Qatar | Xinhua | Two players will occupy headlines around the world after the seventh day of competition at the Qatar World Cup: Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.

Mbappe was France’s hero in their 2-1 win against Denmark, while Messi scored the opening goal as Argentina beat an overly conservative Mexico 2-0 in Group C to recover from their 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Argentina had failed to get a shot on target until Messi collected the ball 25 meters from goal in the 64th minute and drilled a low shot past Guillermo Ochoa’s left hand and youngster Enzo Fernandez eased Argentine nerves and scored what could be a vital second goal in the 87th minute with a lovely curling shot.

Robert Lewandowski scored his first ever goal in the World Cup finals as Poland rode their luck slightly to beat Saudi Arabia 2-0.

Piotr Zielinski gave Poland the lead in the 39th minute, hitting the ball into the Saudi net from six meters after a ball down the right from Matty Cash, after the Saudi Arabians had again been the better side.

Wojciech Szczesny then became Poland’s hero as the Saudis had an almost immediate chance to level from the penalty spot after Saleh Al-Shehri was fouled.

The VAR check took a long time and the Saudis even changed penalty taker with Salem Al-Dawsari eventually stepping up, only for Sczesney to make a diving stop low to his right.

Saudi Arabia had further chances after the break, but failed to take them and were punished when Lewandowski sealed the win after a bad defensive error in the 82nd minute.

The result leaves Poland top of Group C with four points, while Argentina and Saudi Arabia have three points each and Mexico one, but Argentina have a goal difference of +1 while the Saudis have a goal difference of -1 and Mexico -2.

With Poland playing Argentina and Saudi Arabia facing Mexico in the last group game, goal difference could very likely be vital.

In Group D, Mbappe scored in the 61st and 86th minute to book France’s place in the last 16 with a 2-1 win over Denmark.

The striker finally broke a rugged Danish defense after exchanging passes with Theo Hernandez, before his mishit effort took a slight deflection off Andreas Christensen.

Christensen leveled the scores with a powerful header just six minutes later, after a corner had been flicked on at the far post.

Both sides had chances in the last 20 minutes, but it was Mbappe that sealed it when he bundled the ball home at the far post from Antoine Griezmann’s deep in-swinging cross.

The rest of Group D is still wide open after Australia beat Tunisia 1-0.

Mitchell Duke’s first half header from Craig Goodwin’s cross gave Australia the win and unless Tunisia manage to beat France, a draw against Denmark in their last group game would be enough to give the Socceroos a place in the next round.

Duke planted his precise header into the net, while Harry Souttar was exceptional in defense as Australia claimed their first World Cup win since 2010 to keep their hopes alive. ■

The post Messi spurs Argentina, Mbappe seals last 16 place for France appeared first on The Independent Uganda:.

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