Day seven of the FIFA World Cup 2022 was simply one to remember. It was a day of heroics by two football greats at different ends of their careers.
In what is likely his final World Cup, Lionel Messi revived an Argentine side staring down the barrell of a first round exit, while his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe further cemented his legend with a brace for France.
There was that and plenty more to take away from the four matches on the day. Here are 10 takeaways for our OBSERVER ONLINE readers.
Many expected the Australians to be nestled at the bottom of the group. The Socceroos, however, signaled their intention to fight as they beat Tunisia 1-0 in the early kickoff. The Aussies will now face Denmark with their destiny in their own hands - a win guarantees qualification to the round of 16, though a draw will likely be good enough as well.
The side many pundits touted as dark horses find themselves in a precarious position as they have to beat Australia if they are to continue to compete. Despite playing well against world champions France, the Danes were left disappointed after a Mbappe masterclass saw them lose the match 2-1.
After beating pre-tournament favourites Argentina, the Saudis were on a high coming into their fixture against Poland. However, they were brought back to reality as the Polish managed to beat them 2-0 in an end-to-end match that provided football fans with a lot of drama.
After missing a penalty in the opening match against Mexico, Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski bounced back to contribute to a win against Saudi Arabia. The striker oozed class as his performance was arguably the main reason Poland came out on top.
The French have been plagued by a significant number of injuries, losing the likes of Paul Pogba, N’golo Kante and Ballon D’or winner, Karim Benzema. Still, Les Bleus, showcasing their depth, have cemented their status among the favourites to lift the World Cup on December 18, following their defeat of a stubborn Denmark side 2-1.
France came to prove a point and they did, becoming the first team to qualify for the round of 16. The players dug deep against a strong Danish side. The feat is even more impressive considering that many people view this side as their B team.
Kylian Mbappe announced himself to the world at the last World Cup and, since then, has made it a habit to steal the headlines - in good ways, and bad. The 23-year-old could not be contained in France's clash against Denmark and was the difference between the two sides today after nabbing a brace.
Seven-time Ballon d’or winner, Lionel Messi saved the Argentines as he came up big when they needed him most, with a pile driver in the 64th minute against Mexico. This fuelled the Argentines to an eventual 2-0 win against El Tri.
The Mexicans have made it a habit to get knocked out at the round of 16 stage in recent World Cups. However, rooted at the bottom of the group with a game to play, their destiny is out of their hands. The Concacaf side must beat the Saudis in their final group game and hope for a favourable result in the Argentina-Poland encounter.
Enzo fernandes announced himself to the world when he scored an absolute worldy in the 87 th minute to seal victory for Argentina. In a moment of brilliance, the Benfica player managed to beat three players and then score an unforgettable goal to cap off a memorable 2-0 Argentine victory.