Mexico narrowly miss as Argentina, Poland progress to Round of 16

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DOHA: Mexico missed out on securing a Round of 16 berth despite their 2-1 triumph over Saudi Arabia as Robert Lewandowski’s Poland progressed despite losing 2-0 to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final round of Group C matches of the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

Mexico concluded group play tied with Poland on four points after defeating Saudi Arabia 2-1, however, they were denied a spot in Qatar’s knockout stages due to an inferior goal difference.

Henry Martin and Luis Chavez’s goals in the second half powered Mexico to the win, but Salem Al-Dawsari’s late goal dropped them to third place behind Poland.

Gerardo Martino’s side frantically sought a third goal to improve their goal deficit as they faced elimination under FIFA fair play regulations.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, pulled off one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history when they downed Messi’s Argentina but could not continue the momentum in their remaining group matches and finished the group at the bottom place.

Meanwhile, in another Group C match, Messi had a penalty saved but Argentina still advanced to the last 16 as Alexis Mac Allister’s 46th-minute goal settled Argentina’s nerves after a tense first half, before Julian Alvarez doubled their lead just over 20 minutes later.

Despite a 0-2 defeat, Poland also proceeded into the knockouts as runners-up, but only on the strength of goal difference because Mexico could only defeat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the other group match.

Following their narrow qualification, Poland have a major task ahead of them in the Round of 16 where they will take on defending champions France on Sunday, while Argentina will lock horns with Australia, who made it to the knockouts on the same day.

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