Argentina Beat Poland, Even though Messi missed a Penalty
Argentina beat Poland 2-0 in their final Group C match on Wednesday. Even though Lionel Messi had a penalty kick saved in the first half, Argentina moved on to the next round of the World Cup.
Argentina’s win put the South American team on top of the group. They will play Australia in the round of 16 on Saturday night, while Poland plays France on Sunday afternoon.
Just one minute into the second half, Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton got on the end of Nahuel Molina’s cross, and even though his shot was weak, it got past Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and gave Argentina the lead.
The goal was just a reward for Argentina, which had controlled the ball most of the time while Poland barely got out of its own half.
The second goal came after Argentina patiently moved the ball around before Enzo Fernandez played a through ball to Julian Alvarez of Manchester City. Alvarez found space in the box and smashed the ball into the top corner.
Earlier, Poland was furious when Argentina was given a controversial penalty after a VAR check for a foul on Messi when Szczesny’s glove touched his face as the Paris St. Germain forward rose for a header at the far post.
But Szczesny was up to the challenge. Even though thousands of Argentina fans were yelling inside the stadium, he stayed calm and made the right guess, diving to his left and using one hand to block Messi’s penalty kick.
The Poland defense had been broken into many times during the first half, but Szczesny, who plays for Juventus, stood strong to stop the Argentines, who were getting stronger with each attack.
He first stopped Alvarez when he got past the offside trap. Then, when his Juve teammate Angel Di Maria tried to score from a corner kick, he tipped Di Maria’s cross over the bar.
But he couldn’t stop Mac Allister’s shot, which was taken before Poland had a chance to settle down after the restart. Alvarez’s shot for the second goal was too good for any goalkeeper to stop.
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