Martinez and Argentina progress to Last 16

Wednesday 30 November 2022 21:45

Lisandro Martinez's Argentina have progressed to the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, following their 2-0 victory over Poland.

Topping Group C in the process, La Albiceleste secured the triumph thanks to goals from both Brighton's Alexis Mac Allister and Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez.

PSG star Lionel Messi squandered a golden opportunity from the penalty spot in the first half, with Wojciech Szczesny denying him from twelve yards.

Argentina topped the group on six points, with Poland also progressing to the knockout stages ahead of Mexico, despite finishing level on the same points and losing to Licha's nation at Stadium 974 this evening.

Despite Martinez not featuring across the 90 minutes in Doha, Argentina were largely in control throughout proceedings, with Alvarez first testing Szczesny early on.

Angel Di Maria's inswinging corner then nearly evaded his Juventus team-mate by looping all the way into the back of net, if not for the Poland goalkeeper's quick reactions.

Messi then challenged for a header inside the area just before the first half's action drew to a close, with the former Arsenal shot-stopper penalised for a foul. 

Referee Danny Makkelie awarded the penalty following consulting the VAR monitor, with the PSG man dusting himself off, before Szczesny wonderfully denied him.

Just 68 seconds into the second period, Argentina were ahead, with Mac Allister firing low and hard into the bottom corner to break the deadlock and spark wild scenes.

Making good on their second half dominance, Licha's nation then added a second with 67 minutes played, as the ever-threatening Alvarez found time and space inside the area to double his countries lead.

The clash then proceeded into a cagey final twenty minutes, with Poland ahead of Mexico in the standings due to their better disciplinary record, despite leading against Saudi Arabia in the group's other game. Poland secured progression following Mexico's eventual 2-1 victory, sparking wild scenes on the pitch after the news had filtered through.

Two Reds go out while France lose


Raphael Varane and Christian Eriksen skippered their countries but both suffered defeats.

Having suffered a dissapointing start to the competition with defeat against Saudi Arabia, Lisandro will hope for further minutes, with his only action so far his involvement in the sides 2-0 victory over Mexico on Saturday.

Tottenham defender Christian Romero and former City defender Nicolas Otamendi have been preferred in two of the side's group stage games, with Martinez hoping for further inclusion as the tournament progresses into the latter rounds.

A difficult clash with the Socceroos awaits on Saturday for Argentina (19:00 GMT), with fellow Group C successors Poland facing Raphael Varane's France on Sunday afternoon (15:00 GMT).