Day 11 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 saw three teams (Argentina, Poland and Australia) punch their tickets to the knockout stages while the curtains came down for four others (Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and Tunisia).
There was plenty of drama on the day which was as insightful as it was exciting. Her are some takeaways for our OBSERVER ONLINE readers.
1. Tunisia bow out on a high
Ok, France mostly played their reserves in what was a meaningless game for Les Bleus. Still, Tunisia capped off a strong showing at the tournament with a surprise win over the defending champs. It was not enough to prevent them from losing out to Australia for a spot in the knockout rounds, but they exit the tournament with their heads held high.
2. It’s the Aussies, Mate!
Australia can be considered as the surprise package of group D, having fought their way to claim a spot in the knockout stages for only the second time in their history. The Socceroos defeated Denmark 1-0 to advance with six points behind group winners France. They will play Argentina in their next match.
3. Messi and company back on track
Despite Lionel Messi failing to convert a penalty in the group decider, Argentina recorded their second consecutive win and have reestablished themselves among the favourites. Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julián Álvarez sealed the deal for the Argentines in a 2-0 win over Poland.
4. Disappointing Poland scrape through
Poland, despite going down 0-2 to Argentina 2-0, advanced to the round of 16 on goal difference at the expense of a resurgent Mexico side. It was a toothless performance by the Poles who seemed to be playing for a draw. They will have their work cut out for them against high-powered France in the next round.
5. Heartbreak for Mexico
Oh, so close! Mexico fell short of the round of 16 despite a 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia, losing out on the spot on goal difference to Poland. It brought to an end El Tri’s streak of reaching the round of 16, which it had achieved in seven consecutive World Cups, from 1994 to 2018.
6. Dusk of the Danes
Coming into the tournament as dark horses, Denmark failed to live up to expectations. The European Cup semi-finalists only managed a draw against Tunisia and lost to Australia and France. They finished at the bottom of the group with just one point.