World Cup 2022

Poland 0-2 Argentina: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

All the reaction as Argentina roar into the last 16


Argentina recovered from opening day disaster to head to the top of Group C and into a last 16 tie with Australia as they condemned a sorry Poland to defeat at Stadium 974.

The Albiceleste came into the game needing three points to ensure that they headed through, while a draw would have been enough to see Poland over the line.

And it was the Argentines that understandably looked the more positive and proactive on the ball, with Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria both seeing efforts saved by Szczesny.

The Albiceleste were even given a golden opportunity to take the lead, and control of the game, when the Polish no.1 was deemed to have fouled Messi while coming for a cross, and a VAR review handing Messi the chance to open the scoring from the spot.

However, Szczesny redeemed himself, flinging himself to his left to keep out the Argentine magician’s strike, and sending the two sides into the half time break level at 0-0 despite the Argentinian pressure mounting.

Poland’s resistance was broken just moments into the second half, however, as Nahuel Montiel’s cross was turned home by Brighton midfielder Alexis MacAllister, putting Argentina on course to top Group C and set up a clash with Australia.

They threatened to add further to their tally as results elsewhere meant that Poland were hanging on by the skin of their teeth on goal difference to a qualification spot, with Messi going close and MacAllister firing an effort straight at the goalkeeper.

But eventually, Argentina’s dominance told once again, with Julian Alvarez smashing a second past a helpless Szczesny and leave the Poles one goal away from going out.

Lionel Messi and Nicolas Tagliafico both spurned glorious chances to add a third before the fulltime whistle, but Poland clung on to a result that saw them scrape through by virtue of having picked up fewer yellow cards than Mexico.

Player ratings

Poland

  • GK: Wojciech Szczesny (8)- Saved Messi’s penalty well and was unlucky to concede twice. Could do nothing about either.
  • RB: Matty Cash (6) - Defended well enough but had no chance to get forward.
  • CB: Kamil Glik (5) - Struggled against the livewire of Alvarez.
  • CB: Jakub Kiwior (6) - Solid enough and made an excellent goal-line clearance to keep qualification hopes alive.
  • LB: Bartosz Bereszynski (5) - Really struggled against Argentina’s right-hand side.
  • RM: Piotr Zielinski (5) - Was moved around the pitch plenty but didn’t have much influence anywhere.
  • CM: Krystian Bielek (6) - Worked hard but was chasing shadows for much of the match. Substituted after an hour.
  • CM: Gregor Krychowiak (5) - Struggled to keep up with the pace of the game.
  • LM: Jakub Frankowski (4) - Didn’t offer a great deal of support for his left back as Angel di Maria threatened and was taken off before the second half.
  • ST: Karol Swiderski (4) - Managed just 7 passes in the first half and never really looked a threat. Hooked at half-time.
  • ST: Robert Lewandowski (4) - Could only watch as his team were utterly dominated. Didn’t even get a sniff at goal.

Substitutes

  • Jakub Kaminski (4) - Could do absolutely nothing when he came on.
  • Michal Skoras (5) - Ran a lot without being particularly effective.
  • Damian Szymanski (4) - Had no impact on the affair.
  • Krystof Piatek (5) - Was left chasing shadows.

Argentina

  • GK: Emiliano Martinez (6) - Barely touched the ball.
  • RB: Nahuel Molina (7) - Found a great pass for the opener and was a constant threat down the right.
  • CB: Nicolas Otamendi (6) - Helped keep Lewandowski quiet but in truth had very little to do.
  • CB: Cristian Romero (6)- Brought the ball out of defence well.
  • LB: Marcos Acuna (5) - Got forward and went close with one effort but never really looked like troubling the Polish defence too much.
  • CM: Enzo Fernandes (8) - Brought some much-needed balance to Lionel Scaloni’s lineup. Will almost certainly start against Australia.
  • CM: Rodrigo De Paul (7) - Looked off the pace in the first half but grew into the second.
  • CM: Alexis MacAllister (8) - Took his goal well before wasting a second glorious chance. Worked hard off the ball and was tidy on it.
  • RW: Angel Di Maria (7) - Probably Argentina’s brightest spark in the first half, he ran his opposing fullback ragged until he was taken off on the hour.
  • ST: Lionel Messi (8) - Remained thoroughly influential in the game without seeming to break into a sweat. Will be glad his missed penalty proved incidental in the end.
  • LW: Julian Alvarez (7) - Took his goal well and was a threat on the night. Will feel that he could have had one or two more.

Substitutes

  • Leandro Paredes (6) - Recycled possession well.
  • Nicolas Tagliafico (6) - Solid but didn’t see too much action upon coming on.
  • Gonzalo Pezzala (6) - Had very little to do when he came on.
  • Lautaro Martinez (5) - Missed a glorious chance to put Poland out when he fired wide five minutes from time.
  • Thiago Almada (6) -

Key Stats:

Expert Analysis:

Fan Reaction:

Read more:

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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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