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EXPLAINED: What Argentina needs to do to qualify for FIFA World Cup Round of 16?

Argentina’s victory against Lewandowski’s Poland will guarantee their place in the Round of 16.

Argentina-Football-Team-for-Fifa-World-Cup-2022
The Argentina national team led by Messi

The current FIFA World Cup 2022 competitors have come prepared to light up the stage with some breathtaking performances and, of course, some significant upsets.

Saudi Arabia took Argentina by surprise in the opening Group C game, ending Lionel Messi and company’s 36-match unbeaten streak in all competitions and jeopardising the sky blue and whites’ prospects of moving on to the next round. This may have been one of the biggest upsets in FIFA World Cup history which ended in a 2-1 victory for Herve Renard’s team.

Nevertheless, Argentina recovered with a straightforward 2-0 victory over Mexico in the second game to maintain their chances of making the round of 16.

FIFA World Cup Group C (As things stand)

 Team Matches Played Won Draw Lost Goals scored Goals conceded Goal difference Points
Poland 2 1 1 0 2 0 +2 4
Argentina 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1 3
Saudi Arabia 2 1 0 1 2 3 -1 3
Mexico 2 0 1 1 0 2 -2 1

On December 1, Argentina and Poland will square off in their last group match; the outcome of the game will determine whether Messi’s squad advances past the group stage.

Argentina, the reigning World Cup champions, may do the following to advance to the Round of 16:

How can Argentina go into the Round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

First off, if La Albiceleste defeats Poland in their final match, they will undoubtedly advance to the next round. They will be the favourites to win in this scenario, which can only be avoided if Saudi Arabia defeats Mexico handily in their final match.

Argentina currently outscore Saudi Arabia in goal difference. If both the teams finish the group stage with an equal number of points, goal difference is the first condition for a tiebreaker in FIFA World Cups.

The Lionel Scolani-coached team will have to pray for a favourable outcome in the other match (Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia), meaning they would want Mexico to win that match, but not by a margin of more than three goals, if Argentina draws against Poland.

If the results described above materialise, Argentina would finish second in Group C with four points and a goal differential of +1, surpassing Mexico, who will have the same number of points but a higher goal difference.

If Saudi Arabia defeats Mexico, Lionel Messi’s team will be eliminated from the FIFA World Cup 2022 even with a draw.

If neither of the matches between Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico nor Argentina vs. Poland results in a winner, Poland will advance as the group’s top seed, while Argentina will move on as the group’s runner-up.

Argentina would exit the group stage for the first time since 2002 if they lose to Poland, which represents the worst-case scenario. If the Lionel Messi-led team loses to the Polish team, the Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia match won’t matter to them.

Sachin Kankaria

Sachin is a passionate content writer for Sportoversy. He covers a wide range of topics, including the latest news and analysis of the numerous athletes across the globe. Besides his professional work, He enjoys playing and coaching various sports, as well as rooting for his favorite teams. Whether he's on the field or behind a keyboard, Sachin is always striving to bring the best possible content to his readers.

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