Exciting matches were seen in the last two days at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. One superstar Lionel Messi, scored again to take his team Argentina to victory over Mexico and another budding superstar, Kylian Mbappe, scored twice in France’s win over Denmark. France became the first team to move into the last 16.
In other matches over the two days, Australia beat Tunisia, Poland got the better of a spirited Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica defeated Japan 1-0, Belgium lost to Morocco, Croatia rallied to beat Canada and Spain held Germany.
Australia win 1-0
Australia defeated Tunisia 1-0 in a Group D match at Al Janoub Stadium, Al-Wakrah for their first win of the tournament. The side, which had suffered a 1-4 loss to France in its opening game, gave a neck-and-neck fight to Tunisia before Mitchell Duke scored the only goal of the game to put Australia in the driver’s seat. Duke scored through a header in the 23rd minute of the game with some great improvisation after a pass from Craig Goodwin got deflected by one of the Australian defenders. Notably, Tunisia had played a goalless draw against Denmark in their opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Poland beat Saudi
Robert Lewandowski starred with a goal and an assist as Poland defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in a Group C match at the Education City Stadium. The Polish captain set up his team’s opening goal which was converted by Piotr Zielinski in the first-half, before scoring his first-ever World Cup goal late in the second-half to give his team all three points. With the win, Poland moved to the top of Group C.
Mbappe double helps France edge Denmark
Kylian Mbappe struck twice as defending champions France claimed a narrow 2-1 win over Denmark on Saturday and became the first team to advance to the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar.
Denmark threw everything forward looking for a second equaliser, leaving acres of space at the back, but their late attacks against a side they beat twice in the recent Nations League campaign lacked precision and the French held on for the win that put them through.
Argentina beat Mexico
Lionel Messi came up with another crucial goal for Argentina in a 2-0 win over Mexico on Sunday that ignited the team’s World Cup chances. Messi took a touch from Angel Di Maria’s pass across the face of the area and drove a low shot from 25 metres into the bottom corner in the 64th minute. He ran towards Argentina’s fans with his arms outstretched before getting mobbed by his jubilant teammates. He looked emotional as he grabbed and shook his jersey, then blew a kiss to the crowd. Substitute Enzo Fernandez added a second goal in the 87th minute.
Costa Rica beat Japan 1-0
Keysher Fuller Spence scored a goal in the 81st minute of the game to put his side in the driver’s seat, despite Japan getting desperate for a goal. The strike from the Costa Rican right-back proved to be the difference between the two sides. The first-half of the play saw none of the teams getting a shot on target while the second half saw an improved attack from Japan, until Fuller scored against the run of play.
Belgium fall to Morocco
Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal scored a goal each to help Morocco stun number 2 ranked team Belgium in a Group F match at the Al Thumama Stadium, Qatar. Sabiri scored through a stunning free-kick to put Morocco in the driver’s seat before Aboukhlal doubled the lead in the extra time of the second half. Earlier, VAR had denied Morocco an opening goal at the stroke of half-time due to offside. The win helps Morocco replace Belgium at the top spot in the Group F table, while the losing side has slipped to the second spot.
Croatia beat Canada
Andrej Kramaric scored twice as Croatia came from a goal down to hammer Canada 4-1 in a Group F match. With the defeat, Canada crashed out of the round of 16 race, having also lost their first game to Belgium. Kramaric equalised for Croatia after Alphonso Davies had put Canada up inside the first two minutes. Marco Livaja made it 2-1 to Croatia minutes before the break. Kramaric then completed his brace in the second-half, before second-half substitute Lovra Majer scored in injury time to make the scoreline more flattering for the 2018 World Cup runner-ups.
Germany draw with Spain
A late equalising goal from Niclas Fullkrug, Germany have given themselves a fighting chance to make it to the Round of 16 after getting a 1-1 draw against Spain. The four-time champions suffered their earliest tournament exit in more than 80 years in 2018 when they crashed out in the first round and now face a similar scenario in Qatar. They have never been knocked out at this stage twice in successive World Cups.