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Messi masterclass? What Argentina need to do to make the World Cup round of 16

The Albiceleste are in danger of missing out on the knockout rounds


Like many in this tournament, Group C is wide open, made infinitely more entertaining courtesy of opening day upsets.

All four sides can still qualify, courtesy of Saudi Arabia’s shock win over Argentina in the opening round of fixtures. Taking a 1-0 lead and having three goals disallowed for offside, the Albiceleste crumbled in the second half as Saudi Arabia turned the game around and came out 2-1 winners over the pre-tournament favourites, ending their 36-game unbeaten run in the process.

Argentina responded with a nervy 2-0 win over Mexico, but head into the final group game against Poland needing to take all three points to be sure of their place in the last 16.

And that is easier said than done. Poland sit atop the group on 4 points from two games, meaning that a draw for Robert Lewandowski and co. would be enough to guarantee their passage to the last 16, but would leave the South American side facing a nervous wait on the outcome of the other tie in the group to see whether they join them.

This comes as Saudi Arabia can guarantee a spot in the knockout stages if they beat Mexico, who are one of just three sides (along with Tunisia and Uruguay) yet to score a goal this tournament.

Mexico can also throw their hat in the ring, but would need to win and see Poland beat Argentina to stand a realistic chance of heading through.

Should both games finish as a draw, neither Mexico nor Saudi Arabia would head through, which would leave Argentina squeezing through on goal difference, which is one thing in favour of Lionel Scaloni’s side

Read more:

World Cup permutations: What every side needs heading into the final round of World Cup 2022 group games

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.



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