Table madness in World Cup Group C
In the end, Messi and Lewandowski celebrate together
11/30/2022, 10:00 p.m
Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi are in the round of 16 of the World Cup. The way there is characterized by high tension. Because everything is still possible in a long-distance group duel, a real table thriller unfolds.
Robert Lewandowski waited and feared, minutes dragged on endlessly – and then he grinned broadly, because the historic moment had actually come. Only long after the end of the 0:2 (0:0) defeat against Lionel Messi’s Argentinians in the final of Group C was it clear that, alongside the South Americans, Poland would also be in the round of 16 of the World Cup – for the first time in 36 years.
The parallel game between Mexico and Saudi Arabia (2-1) brought the necessary result – just one more goal for the Mexicans and Poland would have been out again. In the meantime, even a historically close fair play decision beckoned: Between Poland and Mexico, both tied on points and goals, the number of yellow cards would have decided who would progress. Then, however, Saudi Arabia still scored.
So Poland’s progress was hanging by a thread. Alexis Mac Allister (46th) and Julian Alvarez (67th) shot Argentina to victory, a much higher result would have been possible. So Messi had missed a penalty kick before the break (39th). Poland now has to play against world champions France in the round of 16, Argentina has to deal with Australia: Two of the most prominent names of the World Cup remain in the tournament.
Messi misses a penalty
Poland’s coach had timidly defended himself against this escalation before the game. “It’s not one-on-one,” said Czeslaw Michniewicz, “that’s not tennis.” And then had to admit that he “counts” on Lewandowski in a game like this: “And I know that all of Argentina is counting on Messi.”
Lewandowski dangerously freed his teammate Krystian Bielik early on (5th), on the other hand Messi shot twice himself in the early stages – first hesitantly (7th), then more dangerously (10th). The favorites were much more active, besieging the Polish penalty area at times, and there were always brilliant ideas from Messi, who, by the way, has been Argentina’s World Cup record player since Wednesday with 22 appearances – ahead of Diego Maradona.
Chances for Marcos Acuna (16th/29th), Angel di Maria (33rd) and Julian Alvarez (36th) then led to the first highlight of the game: the strong goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny hit Messi with his hand on the head after a cross , VAR intervention resulted in a questionable penalty – but Messi found his champion in Szczesny. The six-time world footballer grinned like someone who doesn’t have anything to smile about and a little later it was goalless at the break.
After that, though, things got better for the South Americans. The pressure was increasing, Mac Allister and Alvarez only used two of the numerous chances for an important victory.