Lionel Messi Declines Man Of The Match Award After Argentina's 2-0 Victory Over Poland To Qualify To The Next Round Of The 2022 World Cup.

Argentina booked their place in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup after a comfortable 2-0 win over Poland to top Group C on a dramatic Wednesday night encounter.

There was no goal for the talisman Lionel Messi despite having a total of seven shots, one of which was a penalty brilliantly saved by Wojciech Szczesny. But this was a performance to suggest he may yet be destined to carry Argentina to the biggest prize of them all.

The 35-year-old, fresh from scoring the sensational long-range strike which helped Lionel Scaloni's side overcome Mexico in their second group stage game, produced his best display yet at the tournament on his 999th career appearance.

After a lengthy VAR review, a controversial penalty was awarded to Argentina, with Wojciech Szczesny adjudged to have fouled Messi in the box. But the Poland no.1 and Juventus goalkeeper kept out Messi’s spot-kick with an excellent one-handed stop in the 38th minute.

Messi penalty miss did not prove too costly, as Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister finally broke the deadlock a minute after the break, as he slotted home Nahuel Molina’s cross.

Julian Alvarez, of Manchester City, added a superb second to seal the win with a stunning finish, holding off Aston Villa’s Matty Cash before turning and smashing the ball past a helpless Szczesny at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

There seems to be a confusion about who was Man of the Match, as it shows that Messi was voted Man of the match in the FIFA official website, but the seven-time Ballon d'Orwinner declined it and decided to give award to his teammate Mac Allister after his incredible performance and scoring that important goal. 

The records in the game shows that Messi had no hand in the goals against Poland, with Enzo Fernandez and Nahuel Molina the men to claim the assists for Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez. But even if the last pass wasn't always his, Messi was involved at some point in almost every attack.

Meanwhile, Lionel Scaloni’s side advance to the last 16 as the group winners and will now prepare to face Australia, the runners-up of Group D, on Saturday at 8pm.

Poland takes second place in the group ahead of Mexico after Saudi Arabia scored late on in the other match in the group. 

With Mexico leading earlier by two goals in the other game and, at that stage, needing just a one-goal swing, Poland were extremely fortunate not to have conceded a third in their game.

It was an anxious wait as Poland awaited the outcome of the Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia game and there were jubilant scenes after it was confirmed that the European side progress as runners-up on goal difference, and are rewarded with a round-of-16 match against reigning champions France.

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