Argentina and Lionel Messi turned in a dominant display to beat Poland 2-0 at the World Cup to win Group C and advance to the last 16 at Stadium 974 in Qatar on Wednesday.
Second-half goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez were plenty for Argentina, who were shocked by
Saudi Arabia in their group opener, to keep their quest for a first World Cup title since 1986 alive.
“It’s so emotional for me, for the whole squad. It’s a dream come true,” Mac Allister told reporters. “I debuted with this team, I’m so proud of that. And now managing to score in a World Cup. I’m so happy.
“[After Messi’s penalty miss] we tried to stay positive, to stay calm. We did not feel down. We tried to be optimistic. Fortunately we managed to win and go through.”
Despite being thoroughly outplayed through the 90 minutes, Poland also snuck into the knockout round in second place thanks to a superior goal difference over Mexico and will face Group D winners France on Sunday. Argentina is set to face Australia on Saturday with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
Messi was playing in his 22nd game at the World Cup — and 999th of his career for club and country — breaking a tie with Diego Maradona for the most by an Argentine in the world’s biggest tournament.- espn