Defending world champions France ended their group stage with an unexpected 0-1 loss to Tunisia. Despite the surprise win, the African side finished the tournament as Australia secured second place in Group D with a 1-0 win in a parallel match against Denmark. France, who had already confirmed eight finalists before the match, won the group despite setbacks.
Tunisia’s first win over France in the fifth game against each other was arranged by Vahbí Khazrí after less than an hour’s play. Substitute Antoine Griezmann equalized in the eighth minute of the final set, and referee Conger then blew the final whistle, but the video referee intervened. After watching the replay, the referee canceled the favorite team’s goal for offside.
Tunisia did not advance to the round of 16 even on the sixth attempt. Coach Didier Deschamps’ men, who started with the mixed team, lost the World Cup after nine games, having won their previous six. In the quarter-final clash, they will face the second team from Group C on Sunday.
Before the game started, a whistle sounded over the French national anthem from the Tunisian fan camp, which was a French colony until 1956.
Deschamps leaves goalkeeper and captain Lloris or offensive stars Mbappé, Giroud or Griezmann to rest on the bench with the last 16 certain.
Tunisia got off to an active start, but Ghandrí’s goal in the eighth minute after standard circumstances was ruled out for offside. “Les Bleus” threatened for the first time only in the 25th minute, but Coman finished off a promising chance inside the box. That’s all from the two-time world champion. After that, Khazrí fired in from distance, but French keeper Mandanda blocked his powerful shot.
After the break, Laidúní found himself in big trouble after a controversially won fight, but he shot. In the 58th minute, the African team got a goal. Fofana lost the ball in the middle of the field, Chazrí stepped towards goal and was about to shoot, but in the end he got on with the ball towards goal and opened the scoring with a low shot on the post. However, while taking the shot, Disasi’s stopper hit his ankle so the goalscorer replaced him immediately. Tunis scored the first goal of the tournament.
In the 63rd minute, Deschamps sent on the Paris St. star striker. Germain Mbappe. Griezmann and Dembele joined moments later. The French stepped up the pace, but they were unable to keep up. Mbappé’s shot from the corner was neutralized by goalkeeper Dahmán, and Griezmann’s late goal was disallowed.
Tunisia – France 1:0 (0:0)
Goals: 58. Khazri. Referees: Conger – Rule (both N. Zél.), Makasini (Tonga) – A. Marrí (video, Qatar). ŽK: Káčrida (Tunisia). Audience: 43,627.
Tunis: Dahman – Maria, Ghandri, Talbi – Kacharida, Schirí, Laidúni, Maalul – Slimani (83. Abdi), Khazri (60. Jabali), Rumzani (73. Chaalali). Trainer: Cadre.
France: Mandanda – Camavinga, Konaté, Varane (63. Rompia), Disasi – Tchouaméni – Fofana (73. Griezmann), Veretout (63. Rabiot) – Coman (63. Mbappé), Kolo Muani, Guendouzi (79. Dembélé). Coach: Deschamps.
Argentina easily advanced to the round of 16
In the final match of Group C, the Argentine representative beat Poland 2:0 and advanced to the round of 16 from first place in the standings. Although the South American team’s captain, Lionel Messi, did not award a penalty in the opening half, Alexis Mac Allister scored in the 46th minute and Julián Álvarez added another in the 67th. Despite the loss, Poland also qualified for the knockout stages.
At the tournament in Qatar, Argentina unexpectedly lost to Saudi Arabia at first but then scored two 2-0 wins. The winners of the last South American championship advanced to the knockout stages of the world championships for the fifth straight time and will play Australia in the last 16 on Saturday. Thanks to a better goal than Mexico, Poland made it to the playoffs at the World Cup for the first time since 1986, and on Sunday they will face defending champions France.
Argentina coach Scaloni made four changes to his line-up compared to the last match. Captain Messi earned his 22nd start at the World Cup, becoming the national record holder. He became independent before the legendary Maradona.
The reigning South American champions needed a win and were far more active from the start than Poland, who needed a draw to secure a place in the last 16. Messi was the first to threaten, but his shot was blocked by Szczesny in the 11th minute. The favorite had two more chances in the 28th minute. Álvarez’s not-so-good effort was stopped by the Polish keeper, and soon Acuňa’s header went wide.
In the 33rd minute, Di María was also not successful. After a while, Szczesny caught Álvarez, but then the Polish goalkeeper hit Messi on the head with his hand, and referee Makkelie, after the intervention of the video referee and review of the situation from the video, ordered a penalty.
But the Argentina captain did not convert his penalty in the 39th minute and let Szczesné take the lead. Messi did not follow up on the converted penalty from the opening game in the 2-1 group loss to Saudi Arabia and did not add to the third goal of the tournament in Qatar.
Szczesny also saved a penalty in the last game against Saudi Arabia, becoming only the second goalkeeper to save a penalty in the World Cup after a foul. The Juventus keeper excelled and made nine saves in the opening half alone. Álvarez didn’t come up against him even in the 43rd minute.
After 54 seconds of the second half, Argentina actively opened the scoring. After Molina’s cross from the right, Mac Allister got away with a stick-assisted ground shot and celebrated his first goal for the national team. Poland conceded for the first time at the tournament in Qatar.
Poland did not fire for the first time until the 50th minute. Glik pounced on a cross from a free kick and headed wide. Instead, however, Argentina continues to have the upper hand. In the 67th minute, Fernández pushed the ball into the box, Álvarez spun around and headed straight for the far top corner.
The 22-year-old Manchester City player could have made it 3-0 in moments but he only headed in the side netting. In the 86th minute, Lautaro Martínez also failed to qualify separately, and Tagliafico, another substitute, also failed to set up.
Argentina have lost only one of their last 39 matches. Poland, who will face the Czechs in the upcoming European qualifiers, have lost and conceded for the first time in four duels, but they can still celebrate progress.
Poland – Argentina 0:2 (0:0)
Goals: 46. Mac Allister, 67. Álvarez. Referees: Makkelie – Steegstra, De Vries – Van Boekel (video, all in Dutch). ŽK: Krychowiak – Acuňa. Audience: 44,089.
Poland: Szczesny – Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski (72nd Jedrzejczyk) – Krychowiak (83rd Piatek), Bielik (62nd D. Szymaňski) – Zieliňski, Šwiderski (46th score), Frankowski (46th Kamiňski ) – Lewandowski. Coach: Michniewicz.
Argentina: E. Martínez – Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuňa (59. Tagliafico) – De Paul, Fernández (79. Pezzella), Mac Allister (83. Almada) – Di María (59. Paredes), Messi, Álvarez (79. Lautaro Martinez). Coach: Scaloni.
Mexico beat Saudi Arabia, but it still ended
In the final stage of the group stage, the Mexican players scored for the first time and won, beating Saudi Arabia 2: 1, but it was not enough for them to advance. Even his opponent did not qualify for the round of 16. Mexico picked up four points in Group C, as did Poland, who progressed thanks to a better score. Saudi Arabia finished last with three points.
Mexico took the lead shortly after changing teams when Henry Martín headed in from a corner. Five minutes later, Luis Chavez took a direct free-kick from 30 meters to the crossbar. Mexico needed to score one more goal to advance, but the final pressure was fruitless, and instead, the opponents corrected the score thanks to Sálim Davsárí. Mexico did not make the last 16 of the tournament for the first time since 1990.
Saudi Arabia – Mexico 1:2 (0:0)
Goals: 90.+5 S. Davsári – 47. Martín, 52. Chavez. Referees: Oliver – Burt, Bennett (all English) – Irrati (video, It.). ŽK: Šahrí, Hasan, Tambaktí, Madú, Amrí, Bahabrí – E. Álvarez. Audience: 84,985.
Saudi Arabia: Uvaís – Ghanám (88. Bahabrí), Amri, Tambaktí, Buláihi (37. Sarahilí) – Buraikán, Hasan (46. Madú), Abdal Hamíd, S. Davsári – Kanú, Shahri (62. Abdal Abúd). Trainer: Renard.
Mexico: Ochoa – Sánchez (86.K. Álvarez), Montes, Moreno, Gallardo – Pineda (77. Rodríguez), E. Álvarez (86. Funes Mori), Chávez – Lozano, Martín (77. Jiménez), Vega (46. Antuna ). Coach: Martino.
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