Argentina's Alexis Mac Allister (right) celebrates his opening goal with Nahuel Molina and Ángel di María
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
In a dramatic Group C final, Argentina and Poland qualified for the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar.
Argentina handed a clear improvement in performance and a 2-0 (0-0) win over the Polish team to win the group.
Because Mexico only won 2-1 (0-0) against Saudi Arabia at the same time, Poland's defeat was enough for them to progress.
Argentina will meet Australia in the round of 16, while Poland will face France.
The first half was probably the strongest of the Argentines in the tournament so far: Poland was not allowed into the game at all, the South American champion created chances almost every minute.
Only the goals were missing, and that was due to the Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny: The Juventus goalkeeper saved against Lionel Messi (10th minute), brushed a corner from Ángel di María directly on goal over the crossbar (33rd) and saved his second Penalty in the third group game when he thwarted Messi's penalty kick with a strong reflex (39').
Szczęsny caused the penalty himself when he accidentally hit Messi in the face with his hand while trying to clear.
Less than a minute after the start of the second half, Szczęsny was powerless as well: a cross from Nahuel Molina put Alexis Mac Allister on target.
The Brighton & Hove Albion pro didn't hit the ball properly, but that's exactly why Szczęsny's shot landed in the far corner (46').
Julián Álvarez increased (67th), Poland had to watch the Mexicans' game in the Lusail Stadium.
Mexico pushed for the early lead in the early stages.
First Luis Chávez put a shot just wide of the right post (2nd), then Alexis Vega failed at the strong parrying keeper Mohammed Al-Owais (3rd).
After that, Mexico kept up the pace.
Saudi Arabia rarely got forward and had their first chance from a direct free-kick when Mohammed Kanno aimed a little too high (13').
Except for a few counterattacks, only the Mexicans played.
Orbelín Pineda headed the ball from a cross, but headed a defender (27').
A short time later, Jesús Gallardo volleyed the ball from a corner, but missed the goal (36').
Only shortly before the break did Saudi Arabia dare to go forward again, Firas al-Buraikan marched towards goal and went down just before the penalty area after a duel with Gallardo.
The attacker then called for a free kick, but referee Michael Oliver rightly decided to continue playing.
The Mexicans took advantage of their chances in the second half.
First Henry Martín pushed the ball over the line after a corner (47'), shortly afterwards Chávez converted a direct free kick from around 25 meters into the top right corner (52').
Martín then even added the supposed 3:0, the goal was not awarded due to an offside position (56th).
Saudi Arabia seemed increasingly overwhelmed, while Mexico continued to push forward with all their might and became increasingly dangerous, especially from set pieces.
In the 73rd minute Chávez failed with another powerful free kick by keeper Al-Owais.
Despite the best chances, Mexico missed the third goal in the final stages, instead Salem Al-Dawsari ended Mexico's hopes late (90+5).