Poland 0-2 Argentina: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 40 PM GMT+0

Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julián Álvarez saw Argentina top Group C, while Poland also squeezed through despite defeat

That’s me done. What a night of World Cup drama, which had a bit of everything. I certainly didn’t expect to be liveblogging a different game come the full-time whistle but this is what football makes you do. Roll on the rest of the group games. Thanks for reading, and for your emails and tweets. Until next time!

Louise Taylor's match report

I need to go and have a lie down after all that. Poland fans, I hope your heart is OK.

Here are the confirmed fixtures for this weekend.

Netherlands v USA – 3pm
Argentina v Australia – 7pm

France v Poland – 3pm
England v Senegal – 7pm

Poland owe Szczesny for their qualification. The goalkeeper made a string of excellent saves – not least from Messi’s penalty – to keep Poland in the group.

“Shades of Jan Tomaszewski?,” emails Zafar Sobhan.

Oh yes.


“After the feelings of injustice and joy brought about by the ridiculous penalty, the second half has been downright embarassing and depressing from a Polish perspective,” emails David Scott.

If Poland perform like they did tonight against the world champions, they are toast.

Poland, then, will face France in the last 16. The Poland players are celebrating on the pitch, with the beaming Lewandowski hugging his teammates.

Full-time: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico

Poland qualify from Group C on goal difference! Wow, amazing scenes. We so nearly had the situation where Poland qualified owing to receiving fewer yellow cards. But this is how things finish.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Argentina 3 3 6
2 Poland 3 0 4
3 Mexico 3 -1 4
4 Saudi Arabia 3 -2 3

GOAL! Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico (Aldawsari 90+5)

Saudi Arabia have scored! TMexico threw bodies forward and Salem Aldawsari tucked the ball away after a neat one-two! That doesn’t change much, as one more Mexico goal will still see them qualify on goal scored!

Drama! Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters


Full-time: Poland 0-2 Argentina

Argentina win the group! They are through and will face Australia in the last 16. Poland have to wait to find out if they are second. Mexico have a couple more minutes to find a goal!

90+5 min: There will be seven minutes added on in the Saudi Arabia-Mexico game. That one is running slightly behind this one, so Poland will be made to wait to find out if they are through. Remember, one more Mexico goal or one more Argentina goal, and it will be Mexico that go through in second place!

90+3 min: Poland clear the ball off the line! Tagliafico is released down the left and he defly dinks the ball over the onrushing Szczesny but Kiwior races back and nods the ball off the line! That was a goal-saving intervention and keeps Poland in second place! Drama! DRAMA!

Jakub Kiwior keeps Poland in the World Cup!
Jakub Kiwior keeps Poland in the World Cup! Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters


90+2 min: Argentina are keeping the ball without much intent to attack, and Poland seem happy to defend their goal difference.

“Canada won the 2000 Gold Cup in a pretty stunning upset over Colombia, but they only got through because they won a COIN TOSS over South Korea in the group stage,” emails Michael Stewart.


90 min: Six added minutes. Poland are clinging on.

Argentina and Poland right now… pic.twitter.com/5lKI8htei7

— Stu’s Football Flashbacks (@stusfootyflash) November 30, 2022


88 min: This is excellent stuff, isn’t it? Bookings, who knew they could be so fun.

“Considering that all the stadiums are so close together, couldn’t they do penalties to decide who goes through?” suggests Daniel McGraw via email. “Just bus one team to the other site!”

Danny Murphy has suggested that shots on target might be a better metric, but then we might end up with a silly scenario where Poland and Mexico are shooting from the half-way line, just to get the stats up.


86 min: Golden chance for Lautaro Martinez! He’s sent clean through on goal but drags his shot woefully wide! Poland are living right on the edge here, particularly as in the other game, Mexico are pouring forward to get the goal that would send them into second on goal difference.

Lautaro Martinez has to do better here, Big chance for the third goal.
Lautaro Martinez has to do better here, Big chance for the third goal. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


84 min: More changes: Almada becomes the first MLS player to represent the Albicelestes at a World Cup in coming on for Mac Allister, while for Poland, Krychowiak comes off for Piatek.

82 min: If Poland get two more yellow cards to tie with Mexico, then Fifa will DRAW LOTS to decide who goes through to the knockout stages.

Keep ‘em coming, Poland have been dreadful.
Keep ‘em coming, Poland have been dreadful. Photograph: Ayman Aref/Shutterstock


80 min: More changes for Argentina: Lautaro Martinez and German Pezzella are on for Enzo Fernandez and Julián Álvarez, the goalscorer.

78 min: Yellow card for Krychowiak, who hacks down De Paul. That is significant, because it raises the number of bookings Poland have got this tournament to five. Remember, Mexico are on seven bookings, and that’s the only thing keeping Poland in second place at present!

75 min: “It’s odd that Poland is persisting with a narrow defensive line, considering how much joy the Argentines are having down the flanks,” emails Kári Tulinius. “They must be worried about Messi dancing past the last man, but it leaves them so exposed.”

I think Poland are backing themselves with defending crossess, but they are still struggling to pick up Messi and co in front of the defence.

72 min: One goal changes everything though. And Argentina twice come close to making it 3-0, which would send Poland into third. First Messi fluffs his lines. It’s a chance you would expect him to convert nine times out of ten, as the ball is pulled back to his left foot on the penalty spot, but the little magician scuffs his shot straight at Szczesny!

Next, Messi releases Alvarez with an inch-perfect through ball … the Manchester City striker bears down on goal but is given a faint nudge just as he strikes it into the side netting. There are half-hearted claims for a penalty but Kiwior probably was just on the right side of legal with his little push. Group C remains on a knife edge!

The Argentina fans are loving this.
The Argentina fans are loving this. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


So, this is where we are:

Poland 0-2 Argentina
Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico.

That all means that Argentina lead the group on six points, while Poland and Mexico are tied on four points, with the same goal difference and the same goal scored! That means Poland are still second, because they have a cleaner disciplinary record! They have had four yellow cards to Mexico’s seven bookings. How galling would it be to go out of the World Cup on bookings!

GOAL! Poland 0-2 Argentina (Alvarez 67)

A dangerous game, and that’s why! What a goal this is! Enzo Fernandez drives at the defence and finds Alvaraz, who takes a touch, swivels and blasts a rocket into the top corner. A brilliant, instinctive finish. That should seal Argentina as group winners, but what about Poland?

Argentina are top, Poland are on the edge.
Argentina are top, Poland are on the edge. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Julian Alvarez scores a beauty for Argentina!
Julian Alvarez scores a beauty for Argentina! Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


66 min: Looks like Poland are going to sit in here and protect their goal difference, which is the only thing keeping them second at present. A dangerous game.

64 min: Messi sets off on another run, he’s beginning to enjoy himself now that Argentina are ahead. Cash makes an important block to see off the attack.

62 min: Poland make their third change: Szymanski for Bielik.

Damian Szymanski comes on to replace Krystian Bielik .
Damian Szymanski comes on to replace Krystian Bielik . Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters


60 min: Chance for Mac Allister! The ball pinballs around the box and a square pass falls to the Argentinian on his left foot, but he strikes straight at Szczesny, who did well to hold the ball.

58 min: Argentina make a change: Paredes comes on for Di Maria and forTagliafico for Acuna, who was booked.

Wow, TWO goals in the other game in this group, and they have both gone to Mexico!

Here’s things as they stand, then: Argentina top the group now they are ahead, and Poland are clinging onto second by goal difference. In fact, if Mexico score one more, Mexico will go into second. Fine, fine margins.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Argentina 3 2 6
2 Poland 3 1 4
3 Mexico 3 0 4
4 Saudi Arabia 3 -3 3


53 min: Messi sets off on a mazy run, scampering towards Poland’s box, with the defenders too scared to touch him. He tries a shot but actually kicks the ball with his standing foot. See kids, it can happen to anyone.

He’s just never gonna make it at the top level.
He’s just never gonna make it at the top level. Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images


51 min: Chance for Glik! The first real opportunity for Poland and it falls to the veteran centre back, who glances just wide from a Zielinski free-kick.

That was the chance.
That was the chance. Photograph: Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock


50 min: Yellow card for Acuna for a very naughty challenge on for for Kaminski. Deserved.

49 min: I was just typing out the half-time substitutions when the goal went in, so I’ll tell you about those now. Michal Skoras and Jakub Kaminski are on for Frankowski and Swiderski. The latter was woeful in that first half, the Poland change going into this match really didn’t work.

GOAL! Poland 0-1 Argentina (Mac Allister 47)

Argentina are ahead, 60 seconds after the restart! A massive goal by the Brighton midfielder. Molina got to the byline and cut the ball back where Mac Allister was waiting – the 23-year-old didn’t make a clean connection as he swept it with his right foot, but the direction was perfect and just kissed the far post after passing Szczesny. That should liven the game up!

Poland are caught cold.
Poland are caught cold. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Alexis Mac Allister sneaks the ball in at the far post.
Alexis Mac Allister sneaks the ball in at the far post. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Alexis Mac Allister opens the scoring!
Alexis Mac Allister opens the scoring! Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images


Peeeep! And we’re underway again (at the second attempt, with Poland encroaching on the half-way line at the restart).

Half-time reading:

It was a World Cup like no other. For the last 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism is gathered on our dedicated Qatar: Beyond the Football home page for those who want to go deeper into the issues beyond the pitch.

Guardian reporting goes far beyond what happens on the pitch. Support our investigative journalism today.

@michaelbutler18 Why is it that The Guardian rarely identifies the officiating crew prior to these games? It would be helpful to know who the referee is in these matches, especially when they commit blunders like that. If it's somewhere in your MBM and I missed it, apologies.

— The Hale End Boys will save us all. (@redjellydonut) November 30, 2022

Red Jelly Donut is quite right. I left this off in my preamble. The referee is none other than Dutchman (and Rotterdam police inspector) Danny Makkelie.

It’s also goalless in the other game in this group. Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico. Any goal in that match and Argentina will drop down from second. But it’s as we were at kick-off.

A reminder that the winner of this group will play Australia in the last 16, and the runner up will play … world champions France.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Poland 3 2 5
2 Argentina 3 1 4
3 Saudi Arabia 3 -1 4
4 Mexico 3 -2 2

Half-time: Poland 0-0 Argentina


45+2 min: Poland have been so, so poor. Krychowiak, who has somehow managed to get the No 10 shirt in this team, is fouled which gives Poland a rare chance to throw bodies forward. But Zielinski crosses straight into the arms of Emiliano Martinez. Eeeesh.

Poland need the Grzegorz Krychowiak of 2016, not 2022.
Poland need the Grzegorz Krychowiak of 2016, not 2022. Photograph: Darko Bandić/AP


45 min: Three minutes added on here. Three minutes for Poland to survive.

44 min: For all their creativity, Argentina are missing that killer instinct in the box. Poland are dealing with the crosses easily enough. I’d be getting Lautaro Martinez on sharpish in the second half, if I was Scaloni.

42 min: Back come Argentina again. Alvarez so nearly latches onto a loose ball in the box, then Di Maria drops a shoulder and whips in a dangerous cross to the back post, and Cash does brilliantly to hook the ball away, when facing his own goal.

40 min: By Messi’s standards, this was a poor penalty. Struck well enough but a good height for Szczesny. That said, the Juventus keeper did well to read it, and sent the rebound safely away.

Penalty saved! It remains Poland 0-0 Argentina!

Szczesny makes up for his foul, diving wonderfully to his left to deny Messi! A huge save in the context of this group!

Justice is (probably) done.
Justice is (probably) done. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images
The big right hand of Wojciech Szczesny saves it.
The big right hand of Wojciech Szczesny saves it. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Saved! Photograph: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images


Penalty to Argentina!

It’s so, so soft. Szczesny brushes Messi’s forehead but the ball was well out of the Argentinian’s control. That’s a really bad decision, for my money. Messi gets to his feet. After rolling around on the floor, he appears to be just fine now.

That’s incredibly soft.
That’s incredibly soft. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Oh, so that’s a foul.
Oh, so that’s a foul. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


38 min: VAR are checking for a penalty, Argentina are claiming that Szczesny caught Messi in the face on that last cross. It would be very soft, but the referee is going to look at the screen! Wow. He’s given it!

37 min: Szczesny denies Alvarez! A brilliant ball from Mac Allister releases his Premier League counterpart, and the Manchester City striker crashes his shot towards the far post. Szczesny sticks out a left hand, great save. Alvarez collects the rebound and crosses to the far post but the ball goes behind for a goal kick.

35 min: De Paul, who wears his socks and shinpads low a la Grealish, is the latest to flash his shot towards Poland’s goal. They are getting closer.

32 min: Di Maria so nearly scored directly from a corner! Szczesny was gambling on a ball towards the penalty spot and was forced to madly back pedal and tip Di Maria’s cross just over his bar!

30 min: Poland are becoming more and more entreched. Lewandowski is a lone figure up top, and the little service he is getting are hopeful balls loosely in his direction. It’s all Argentina.

28 min: Double chance for Argentina! Alvarez sees his shot crucially blocked and the ball comes out to Acuna, who flashes a fierce shot juts a few inches wide of Szczesny’s far post! Ooooo, that was close – Acuna has never scored for his country.

Marcos Acuna fires just wide. The pressure is building on Poland.
Marcos Acuna fires just wide. The pressure is building on Poland. Photograph: Jorge Sáenz/AP


25 min: I can’t stress enough the support for Argentina inside this stadium. Feels like we’re in downtown Buenos Aires.

22 min: A lull in play. It’s been an intruiging 22 minutes so far. Argentina edging it.

“Is this the first rubbish kit so far?” asks Ed Ryan.

Assume you are talking about the Argentina away one and Nope, I actually quite like it! Worst kits at this World Cup are as follows:

1. England
2. Iran
3. Argentina

20 min: Slough-born Cash, who was in this heartwarming Christmas advert in Poland, does some rampaging of his own down the right, and wins first a free kick and then a corner from Acuna. Both set pieces are well defended, although Poland definitely have a height advantage here.

Cash pops in for Christmas! 😉
Cash wpada na Święta!#AD pic.twitter.com/lYCh7HEENR

— Matty Cash (@mattycash622) November 24, 2022

18 min: Messi is not being man marked, but Poland might want to think about it. He’s getting far too much room on their edge of their box, and is dropping his passes on a dime for willing Argentina runners.

16 min: Messi finds the rampaging Acuna, and the left back cuts back inside onto his weaker right and blazes his shot over the bar. That was a decent chance! Just fell to the wrong man.

14 min: I think the favourite word of Danny Murphy, on co-commentating duties for the BBC tonight, must be ‘technicians’, which I absolutely despise, unless it’s being used in the context of a car garage, laboratory or computer room.


12 min: I can confirm that both Romero and Otamendi are being rather physical with Lewandowski. A shock to absolutely nobody.

Let him know you’re there early doors etc.
Let him know you’re there early doors etc. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters


10 min: In an almost carbon copy of the goal against Mexico, Di Maria picks out Messi on the edge of the box, and the little man stings the palms of Szczesny, who turns it behind for a corner.

A decent effort from Messi requires a smart Szczesny save.
A decent effort from Messi requires a smart Szczesny save. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP


8 min: Some sizzling skill from Messi and Di Maria in the middle, with the latter fizzing a shot towards goal, which hits Messi. That looked destined for the corner!

6 min: A couple of promising breaks for Poland. Bielik has a shot blocked from the edge of the box, before Frankowski floats a dangerous ball towards Lewandowski on the counter attack.

4 min: This is like an away game for Poland. The vast majority of fans inside Stadium 974 are decked out in blue and white.

2 min: Positive start for Argentina! A corner from Messi fails to beat the first man but a cross comes in at the second attempt, where Otamendi beats Bereszynski at the back post, but can only glance his attempt (well) wide.

Nicolas Otamendi out-jumps Poland's Bartosz Bereszynski.
Nicolas Otamendi out-jumps Poland's Bartosz Bereszynski. Photograph: Jorge Sáenz/AP


Peeeeeep! And we’re off. Poland get us underway. Remember the winners of this group will play Australia in the last 16. Quite the incentive.


Ingo Herzke emails to give us the latest on Lehmann: “A friend of mine is mayor in the small town on Lake Starnberg where he resides, and she told me he’s “completely off the rails”. Has been pestering all the neighbour for years. Why does that not surprise me? He was a great keeper, though. Better than Kahn in my opinion.”


The teams are out! Poland wearing their white kit and Argentina are in their changed purple (!) strip. The anthems come and go, with many shots of Argentinians close to tears. Of course.

The teams are out. Nearly time.
The teams are out. Nearly time. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images


Speaking of former Arsenal players, let’s talk about Krystian Bielik. He’s been on quite the journey since leaving the Emirates and after two ACL injuries, is currently on loan at Birmingham City from Derby County.

Sergei Nirenburg has emailed to suggest thatBielik is in the Poland team to shadow Messi everywhere”. He was excellent after being brought into the team in the last match against Saudi Arabia and certainly has the engine to be a man marker. It’s quite the gulf in class, though, between the Pole and, erm, Messi.

That said, man marking is not the worst idea. Argentina looked uninspired against Mexico until a lapse in concentration gave too much room to Messi on the edge of the Mexico box. The rest was history. But keep Messi quiet and Poland will be confident they can get at least the draw they need.

Our first email, from Ric Arthur.

“I can’t keep up with all the (ex-)Arsenal goalies in this World Cup: we are about to get Szczesny v Martínez, we’ve just seen Mat Ryan and Matt Turner, although Ospina’s Columbia did not make the cut and Fulham’s Leno did not make it to the German team, nor West Ham’s Fabianski to the Polish one. But why didn’t Southgate give Ramsdale a spin against Wales? Is he waiting for Pickford to be sent off?”

Of course, this has led me to Google what Jens Lehmann is up to

Jens Lehmann has been accused of attacking his neighbour’s house with a chainsaw, according to reports in Germany.

The former Arsenal goalkeeper is engaged in a long-running dispute over his view of Lake Starnberg, a popular summer spot near Munich. He is thought to have complained to local authorities about the neighbour’s new garage encroaching on his land.

Lehmann launched the attack on the luxury villa in an effort to saw off several roof beams, reports Bild. The 52-year-old was caught on CCTV and police are now investigating the incident, as well as three previous cases of vandalism which caused around £9,000 of damage.

The former German international bought the property 15 years ago for £4m while playing for Arsenal. He is yet to comment on the report.

There are some other (substantial!) selections to digest. Poland make one change from the win over Saudi Arabia. Interesting that Karol Świderski, who plays in the MLS with Charlotte is preferred to Juventus loanee Arkadiusz Milik, up top. Heartening, too, that Poland are sticking with two strikers, despite the fact that they need just a draw to qualify.

Argentina also make a change up top: Manchester City’s Julián Álvarez comes in for Lautaro Martínez, who was so important for Scaloni on that 36-game unbeaten run. They are not too dissimilar in style so perhaps Álvarez has edged it in training.

Molina comes in for Montiel at right back, while Enzo Fernandez, who scored that fine curling effort against Saudi Arabia, replaces Guido Rodriguez in central midfield. I think that Argentina will still line up in a 4-2-3-1, though.

The teams! Lisandro Martínez is dropped!

Poland: Szczesny, Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski, Zielinski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski, Swiderski, Lewandowski.
Subs: Jedrzejczyk, Wieteska, Bednarek, Milik, Damian Szymanski, Grosicki, Skorupski, Kaminski, Zurkowski, Sebastian Szymanski, Zalewski, Grabara, Piatek, Gumny, Skoras.

Argentina: Emiliano Martinez, Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna, De Paul, Fernandez, Di Maria, Messi, Mac Allister, Alvarez.
Subs: Armani, Foyth, Tagliafico, Montiel, Paredes, Pezzella, Rulli, Palacios, Correa, Almada, Gomez, Rodriguez, Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Lisandro Martinez.


It’s being reported that Lisandro Martínez has been dropped by Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni, who has instead opted for Nicolás Otamendi, 34, and Cristian Romero at the centre of his defence. Quite the decision, particularly as Martínez was excellent in the win over Mexico (and has been very decent for Manchester United all season). I’m not going to speculate if the decision is over height, but all I will say is that Lewandowski is good at heading a football. We’ll get confirmation in the next few minutes.

While we wait for the teams, have a read of Louise Taylor’s preview.


The other half of this group meet in another seismic clash. You can follow everything Saudi Arabia-Mexico in our liveblog right here.


Now, then. Now, then. What a game we have here. A top-of-the-table clash in Group C, with two proud footballing nations fighting it out to make the knockout stages. The wider context, and particularly important for anyone that has ever written ‘Penaldo’ in the comments section, is that this could be Lionel Messi’s final ever World Cup match, in what would be an almost singular disappointment in one of the greatest careers this sport has ever seen. The GOAT will, no doubt, rage on.

Anyway, back to Group C. As things stand, all four countries can make it. Messi was instrumental in Argentina recovering from their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia to beat Mexico, scoring one of the great World Cup goals.

Poland will qualify with a draw or a win, and what a huge achievement that would be for Robert Lewandowski and co, who have flickered and stuttered their way to four points thus far.

Kick off: 7pm GMT, 10pm in Qatar.

Here’s the table, and we’ll have the team news and reaction shortly.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Poland 2 2 4
2 Argentina 2 1 3
3 Saudi Arabia 2 -1 3
4 Mexico 2 -2 1



Michael Butler

The GuardianTramp

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