Sun, 05 Feb 2023

DOHA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Second half goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez gave Argentina a 2-0 win against Mexico on Saturday and banished the team's fears of an early exit from the World Cup.

The Argentina players and coach celebrated long and loud in their dressing room after the final whistle, but those celebrations were possibly premature as Argentina's way ahead is still littered with potential potholes.

First of those is a final Group C match against Poland, who have four points, compared to Argentina's 3. Saudi Arabia also have three points, while Mexico have just one.

That means that if Argentina want to ensure qualification and top their group, they have to beat the Poles, who defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 on Saturday, with Robert Lewandowski netting his first ever goal in the World Cup finals.

A draw against Poland would mean that if Saudi Arabia beat Mexico or Mexico manage to win by three or more goals against the Saudis, then Argentina would still be knocked out of the World Cup.

However, even if a draw against Poland is enough to see Argentina through in second place in Group C, there is little reason to celebrate for one simple reason - The side that finishes second in Group C will play the winner of Group D in the last 16 and that will be reigning champions, France.

The French top Group D with two wins from two matches and have already secured their place in the next round. Even though coach Didier Deschamps has confirmed he will rest key players, it would still need a disaster against Tunisia in their last game not to finish top of the group.

So unless Argentina beat Poland in their last game, they will almost certainly play France in the last 16 and the prospect of seeing Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele run at the Argentina defense is something to strike fear into even the stoutest Argentinean heart.

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