World Cup recap: Messi, Argentina clinch spot in knockouts with win; Mexico eliminated

Tunisia nabbed a win over defending champion France for pride points, but was eliminated. Australia is going to its first knockout round for only the second time ever as it finishes behind France in Group D.

To wrap up Group C, Mexico lost its battle to make the Round of 16 despite beating Saudi Arabia. Argentina and Lionel Messi clinched their spot in the next round with a win over Poland. Robert Lewandowski and his side earned the second slot in the knockouts with a better goal differential than El Tri.

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Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Mexico's defender Jesus Gallardo reacts at the final whistle of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium.
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Mexico's defender Jesus Gallardo reacts at the final whistle of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium.

Poland celebrates advancing to Round of 16

DOHA, QATAR — Poland's players were still on the field after the loss when they got word that Saudi Arabia had scored, which would send them through to the next round. Before the goal, Poland would have gone through with fewer yellow cards than Mexico after tying in all other areas, but Saudi Arabia made the final scenario straight forward. Players thrust their fists in the air and Robert Lewandowski beamed. They stayed on the field until Saudi Arabia-Mexico ended, exchanging hugs and high fives and saluting the Polish fans in the stands.

— Nancy Armour

Full time: Mexico 2, Saudi Arabia 1

Mexico came out on top against Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their Group C finale, but they are eliminated from the tournament. They failed to score in their previous two matches and a lack of goal differential in this win means they finish third in the group and go home. This is the first time since 1978 that they have not made it to the Round of 16 in a World Cup appearance.

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Group C final standings

  • Argentina (advance), 6 points, +3 GD

  • Poland (advance), 4 points, 0 GD

  • Mexico, 4 points, -1 GD

  • Saudia Arabia, 3 points, -2 GD

Saudi Arabia scores late goal, essentially eliminating Mexico

With Argentina clinching its spot in the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win minutes ago, Mexico can only get into the knockout round off goal differential after being tied in that stat with Poland. Saudi Arabia makes the job close to impossible with a goal in the 95th minute, which gives Poland a one-point advantage.

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Full time: Argentina 2, Poland 0

Lionel Messi and company defeated Poland 2-0 to clinch their spot in the Round of 16. They also finish at the top of Group C. The opening upset to Saudi Arabia seems so far away after Argentina has won two straight games and held both opponents scoreless.

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Mexico suffers another goal-snatching offsides penalty

In the 87th minute, Mexico had another goal called back due to an offsides penalty. Uriel Antuna took a through ball from Carlos Rodríguez and struck the ball into a wide open net, but he was a few steps ahead of the defenders and called for offsides. The score is 2-0 Mexico.

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Argentina furthers lead with goal from Julián Álvarez

Argentina scored again. In the 67th minute, Julián Álvarez took a pass from Enzo Fernández and lasered the ball into the right top corner of the net. Argentina is up 2-0.

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Mexico goal called back for offsides

As the tournament stands, Mexico needs three scores to have a higher differential than Poland and advance to the Round of 16. They almost got said goal in the 56th minute. Hirving Lozano knocked in a goal from the top of the box, but he was ruled offsides, much to the disappointment of Tata Martino and the fans.

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Lionel Messi misses another chance

Lionel Messi missed a left-footed shot in the 56th minute. The ball went left of the net, but Argentina is still up 1-0. They have 18 shots and nine shots on goal.

Luis Chávez scores first World Cup goal, furthers Mexico's lead

The momentum is all Mexico's as Luis Chávez scored a goal in the 52nd minute off a free kick. The goal, which is Chávez's first ever score for the national team, comes just minutes after El Tri got on the board with a goal from Henry Martín. Mexico leads Saudi Arabia 2-0.

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Mexico, Argentina strike

After 11 shots in the first half, Mexico finally struck in the 47th minute. Henry Martín knocked in a short shot after a corner kick.

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For Argentina, Alexis Mac Allister scored the first goal of the match against Poland. In the 46th minute, he took a cross kick from Nahuel Molina and kicked it straight into the net.

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Half: Mexico 0, Saudi Arabia 0

Despite 11 shots and three shots on goal, including two misses from Orbelin Pineda, Mexico has yet to score in what is essentially an elimination game. Saudi Arabia needs the win if it wants to advance to the Round of 16 as well.

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Half: Argentina 0, Poland 0

Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick in the 39th minute in what has been a quiet game between an established legend and Robert Lewandowski, who scored his first World Cup goal earlier in the tournament.

Messi misses penalty shot

Lionel Messi was awarded a penalty kick in the 39th minute. His shot, directed to the right of the net, was saved by Poland's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny's fingertips. The score is 0-0.

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Mexico misses two goal opportunities

In the 25th minute, Orbelin Pineda had a chance to score as he kicked the ball from in front of the goal, but goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais caught it.

Pineda had another shot two minutes later when he took a pass from Hirving Lozano and attempted a header that didn't go in.

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Saudi Arabia misses penalty kick

In the 13th minute, Saudi Arabia was awarded a penalty kick and Mohammed Kanno missed, booting the ball just over the net. The score is 0-0.

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Messi passes Maradona's record

With his 22nd World Cup appearance, Lionel Messi passes Diego Maradona for most caps in the tournament by an Argentinian player. Messi has also tied the Argentinian legend with eight World Cup goals when he scored against Mexico on Saturday.

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Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia lineups

Saudi Arabia captain Salem Al-Dawsari takes his squad against another traditional powerhouse in Guillermo Ochoa and Mexico. Group C is wide open for the Round of 16.

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Scenes from Argentina vs. Poland

DOHA, QATAR — Argentina travels as well as any team at the World Cup, and the stands at 974 Stadium were filled with fans in the iconic blue-and-white striped jerseys.

A roar erupted when Lionel Messi took the field for pre-game warmups, and the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, who has said this will "surely" be his last World Cup, responded by applauding the fans.

— Nancy Armour

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Argentina vs. Poland lineups 

Lionel Messi's path to the knockout round is simple. Win and he's in. But Argentina will have to find the back of the net against Poland, who have yet to concede a goal.

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How can Mexico advance in the World Cup?

So, you're saying there's a chance?

Even without a goal through two games at the World Cup, Mexico can still advance to the knockout rounds. But, they'll need some help from Argentina or Poland in their match.

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USMNT keeping bags unpacked

DOHA, Qatar — When the U.S. men arrived at the World Cup, coach Gregg Berhalter told them to unpack their suitcases, put their clothes in the dresser and their books on the nightstand.

They were, he said, going to be here for the duration.

So while those new to the USMNT might see anything from here on out as a bonus, they don’t. The Netherlands are up next, and the U.S. men are coming to play.

"It's a great opportunity. But it's not something we're going into it thinking it's an honor," Berhalter said after the Americans advanced to the round of 16 with a 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday night.

“We deserve to be in the position we’re in, and we deserve to keep going.”

— Nancy Armour

FINAL: Tunisia eliminated despite win

A win for pride, Tunisia fought to the last minute in a 1-0 victory over France, but its fate wasn't in its hands. Australia earned the second-place nod with a 1-0 win over Denmark and celebrated accordingly.

Group D final standings

  • France (advance): 6 pts, 3 GD

  • Australia (advance): 6 pts, -1 GD

  • Tunisia: 4 pts, 0 GD

  • Denmark: 1 pt, -2 GD

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Griezmann goal disallowed 

In the dying moments of the Tunisia-France game, Les Blues' Antoine Griezmann redirected a cross into the net, but after a confusing VAR, the goal was disallowed. Despite the 1-0 win, Tunisia goes home.

FINAL: Australia defeats Denmark, advances to Round of 16

With the 1-0 win and Tunisia's draw with France, Australia secures a place in the Round of 16 for the second time in the nation's history.

France super subs coming in

Deschamps is trying to balance rest with form. His team is already moving on to the Round of 16. But since going down a goal to Tunisia, the French boss has brought on William Saliba, Adrien Rabiot, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe.

GOAL! Australia take the lead vs. Denmark

Elsewhere in Group D, Australia is not bowing out. Australia started the counter attack in their half of the field, with a long pass from Riley McGree to Mathew Leckie. Taking on two Denmark defenders, Leckie found the back of the net.

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GOAL! Khazri gives Tunisia the lead

France's defense collapsed on Wahbi Khazri as the striker made his way to goal. He found the opening score and then was quickly subbed off for Issam Jebali. The celebration that followed showed just what it means.

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Kingsley Coman's audition for France

As one of nine lineup changes coach Didier Deschamps made going into the game against Tunisia, Kingsley Coman has a 93.8% passing accuracy with 16 passes and 31 touches against Tunisia.

HALFTIME: World Cup Group D matches scoreless

As things currently stand, France will win Group D. But Tunisia has been knocking on the door, including a 34th minute chance from Wahbi Khazri, saved by back-up keeper Steve Mandanda.

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Australia support back home

Even at 2 a.m. in Australia, fans are up early to see if their team can advance to its second Round of 16 appearance.

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Tunisia goal disallowed

Tunisia, with pressure early, was caught offside on a set piece chance against France. It was Nader Ghandri who almost gave the lead to his nation.

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Australia vs. Denmark starting lineups

Elsewhere in Group D, Denmark continues to rotate its striker. While Christian Eriksen stands consistent in midfield, Martin Braithwaite takes his place to lead the Denmark attack as the third striker in three games. The Danish team faces a must-win situation.

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Tunisia vs. France starting lineups

Plenty of changes for France, who broke the streak of defending champions not making it out of the group with its win against Denmark on Saturday.

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USMNT advances to World Cup knockout rounds

Of course it was going to be Christian Pulisic.

He’s the wunderkind of this uber-talented young generation of U.S. men, “Captain America,” accomplishing things no American has before, for both club and country. If the USMNT is to make a run at this World Cup, and make people rethink their view of American soccer, it’s going to require something special from Pulisic.

“I don’t see it as a burden at all. I’m very excited for the moment,” he said before the tournament began. “I’m going to do the best I can in representing this country, and hope I make everyone back home proud.”

Oh, I’d say he’s got that covered.

A hard collision with Iran’s goalkeeper sent Pulisic to the hospital with an abdominal injury Tuesday night, but not before his goal in the 38th minute gave the USMNT what it needed to beat Iran 1-0 and advance to the knockout rounds.

Back in the World Cup for the first time since 2014, the USMNT will be one of the last 16 teams standing.

— Nancy Armour

Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico — 2 p.m.

Is Mexico out of the World Cup? Not yet. But El Tri must win (and get some help) in order to make an eighth consecutive Round of 16. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will be looking to prove its opening match wasn't a fluke.

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Poland vs. Argentina — 2 p.m.

Argentina avoided disaster against Mexico and kept its, and Lionel Messi's, World Cup dreams alive, while prolific Polish striker Robert Lewandowski finally got his World Cup goal. The best way for both teams to advance is to win in a wide open Group C.

Messi scored twice in two World Cup games this tournament and will likely have to do it again to get to the Round of 16 against Poland who has kept a clean sheet through two games this competition.

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Australia vs. Denmark — 10 a.m.

Australia's win over Tunisia has them in favorable position to qualify for its second group stage appearance. The last time these two teams met in the World Cup, they drew 1-1. Christian Eriksen scored the first goal in that game.

Denmark will have to overcome its longest winless run in the World Cup, currently at five games.

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Tunisia vs. France — 10 a.m.

Defending champion France is the only team to have already qualified from Group D. So does that mean stars like Kylian Mbappe will be saved for the next round? After all, France has already lost a handful of starters this year.

In the first competitive match between the two teams, Tunisia looks to take advantage of a French team whose eyes are already on the next round.

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: World Cup: Mexico eliminated despite win; Messi, Argentina advance