Tonight’s game was a must win for Argentina, if they wished to progress to the round of 16. Meanwhile Poland only really needed a draw to guarantee progression to the knockout phases for the first time since 1986.
Argentina certainly started the game with much more urgency than Poland, and Messi was soon weaving his way through the Polish defence trying to create a piece of magic.
Argentina’s first real chance of the game came later into the first half, when Álvarez had a shot blocked, before Acuña fired one back in. Acuña’s shot went just wide of the post but it certainly riled up the majority of Stadium 974, being predominantly Argentinian fans.
Argentina continued to dominate and soon a collision between Szczęsny and Messi was being looked at by VAR for a possible penalty.
It was an unfortunate one for the Polish keeper as there wasn’t much he could have done to get out of Lionel Messi’s way, but VAR decided it was enough to be given.
However, some would say justice was served, as Szczęsny pulled out a terrific save to deny Messi.
Argentina continued to press though, as they looked desperately for a breakthrough goal. Unfortunately for the South American side no goal would come before the end of the first half.
Argentina wanted to make it known that they should be in the knockout rounds of the competition, and within a minute of the second-half they had their goal. Molina pulled it back and passed it over to Mac Allister, who tapped it home to score his first goal for his country.
Argentina weren’t about to take any position in their group table for granted and they continued to push for another goal.
It would be the young Man City striker Álvarez who would double their lead. Fernández fed the ball through to him and then he positioned his shot before letting a beautiful curler fly into the back of the Polish goal.
Argentina still weren’t content with two goals though, both Messi and Álvarez came agonisingly close to scoring a third for Argentina.
Poland on the other hand had to watch themselves, as another goal for Mexico or Argentina, or three yellow cards, would see them out of the World Cup, despite starting the day at the top of the Group C table.
Both Tagliafico and Lautaro Martínez nearly broke Polish hearts, with massive chances to score a third for Argentina if it weren’t for them going wide and being cleared excellently by the Polish defence.
Argentina ended the night victors of Group C, looking ahead to a tie against Australia on Saturday. Poland would have to wait 4 more minutes to learn the final score of Saudi Arabia v Mexico.
Saudi Arabia were the heroes for Poland on the night, scoring a late consolation goal to break Mexican hearts. Poland will be thankful they are through, but they are likely to need to be able to reach another level if they are to progress past France on Sunday.
Poland: Szczęsny, Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszyński (72), Zieliński, Bielik (62), Krychowiak (83), Frankowski (46), Świderski (46), Lewandowski.
Subs: Jędrzejczyk (72), Wieteska, Bednarek, Milik, Syzmański (62), Grosicki, Skorupski, Kamiński (46), Żurkowski, Syzmanski, Zalewski, Grabara, Piatek (83), Gummy, Skóraś (46).
Argentina: E.Martínez, Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuña (59), De Paul, Fernández (79), Mac Allister (84), Di María (59), Messi, Álvarez (79).
Subs: Armani, Foyth, Tagliafico (59), Montiel, Paredes (59), Pezzella (79), Rulli, Palacios, Correa, Almada (84), Papa Gómez, Rodríguez, Dybala, Lautaro Martínez (79), Lisandro Martínez.