Football World Cup Qatar, Day 11
Argentina and Mexico win – but only one of the teams makes it to the round of 16
Argentina’s superstar Lionel Messi even missed a penalty against Poland, but his team is through – and so is Poland. From Group D, France and Australia advance to the round of 16, while Tunisia and Denmark are out.
Argentina with superstar Lionel Messi made it to the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar. The two-time world champions celebrated a 2-0 (0-0) win over Poland in Doha on Wednesday and entered the knockout stages as the winners of Group C. The Poles saved themselves in second place with world footballer Robert Lewandowski, who advanced ahead of the Mexicans, who were tied on points, thanks to the better goal difference.
After a missed penalty by Messi, which failed in the 39th minute by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Alexis Mac Allister (46th) saved the Argentines with his goal. Julian Alvarez (67th) made the final score. The Argentinians meet Australia in the round of 16 on Saturday (8:00 p.m.). One day later, Poland will face defending champions France.
Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico
Mexico failed in the nerve-wracking Group C final for the first time since 1978, despite beating Saudi Arabia. For the Saudis, too, the first football World Cup in the Arab region ended after the group phase after the 1:2 (0:0) in the Lusail Stadium on Wednesday evening. Henry Martín (48th minute) and Luis Chávez (52nd) shot Mexico to a deserved first success in Qatar in front of 84,985 spectators. But that wasn’t enough for the Latin Americans to progress. Salem Mohammed Al-Dausari ended all Mexican hopes (90+5).
Pussy Riot protest with t-shirt action on stands for women in Iran
Both fan groups provided loud support in the imposing arena north of the capital Doha. According to estimates, tens of thousands of Mexicans made the trip to Qatar, while the trip to the neighboring country was significantly shorter for the Saudi fans. Among the guests of honor in the evening was Fifa President Gianni Infantino, who repeatedly emphasized the importance of the final round for the Arab world.
Tunisia 1-0 France
Despite a well-deserved win against a B-team of world champions France, the Tunisian national football team missed out on their historic first place in the round of 16 at a World Cup. The North Africans defeated the defending champions 1-0 (0-0) at the end of Group D and thought they were in the knockout stages for two minutes, but missed second place in the group behind the French people. Antoine Griezmann’s alleged equalizer in injury time was withdrawn due to an offside position.
The defending champions, whose coach Didier Deschamps had changed his starting eleven to nine positions after the already certain round of 16 entry, are probably spared accusations of alleged distortion of competition thanks to the Australian victory.
The strong captain Wahbi Khazri, who plays in Montpellier in France, provided the winning goal (58th) for the team around Ellyes Skhiri from Cologne. Despite their first defeat in a World Cup match since the quarter-finals in 2014, France won their group (0-1) against Germany. Opponents in the round of 16 on Sunday will be second in Group C, which will be determined on Wednesday evening between Poland, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
Australia 1-0 Denmark
Underdogs Australia threw secret favorites Denmark out of the tournament in Qatar. After a goal by the former Bundesliga pro Mathew Leckie, it is not the semi-finalists of the European Championship, but one of the supposedly weakest teams of this World Cup in the round of 16. Leckie made it 1-0 (0-0) with a fine individual performance in the 60th minute on Wednesday.
Australia reached the knockout stages for the second time since 2006, sparking great euphoria back home. Denmark, on the other hand, performed even less well than their goalless opener against Tunisia in front of a crowd of 41,232 at Al-Wakra. Apart from their defensive but unsuccessful performance in the 1-2 draw with France, coach Kasper Hjulmand’s team missed everything that had made them so strong in the past two years at this World Cup.