The participants of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 have well and truly arrived to set the stage on fire with some mesmerising performances and of course, some major upsets.

In, perhaps, what was one of the biggest upsets in FIFA World Cup history, Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 in the opening Group C clash to end Lionel Messi and Co.’s 36-match unbeaten run in all competitions and jeopardised the sky blue and whites’ chances of a spot in the next round.

Nonetheless, Argentina bounced back with a comfortable 2-0 win over Mexico in the second match to keep their knockout ambitions alive.

As things stand, Argentina occupy the second position in Group C with three points, one less than Robert Lewandowski-led Poland, who have amassed four points from their two matches.

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

Argentina and Poland will face off in their final group match on December 1 and the result of the contest will decide if Messi’s team can make it beyond the group stage.

Here’s how the two-time champions Argentina can qualify for the World Cup Round of 16:

How can Argentina qualify for the Round of 16 in FIFA World Cup 2022?

To begin with, La Albiceleste will surely qualify for the next round with a win over Poland in their last fixture. In this case, they will be favourites to finish on top, a scenario which can only be averted if Saudi Arabia wins their final match vs Mexico by a huge margin.

As things stand, Argentina have a better goal difference than the Saudis. In FIFA World Cups, goal difference is the first layer of tie-breaker if two teams finish the group stage with equal number of points.

However, if Argentina draw against Poland, the Lionel Scolani-coached side will have to hope for a favourable result in the other match (Mexico vs Saudi Arabia), i.e., they will want Mexico to win that match, but not by more than a margin of three goals.

If the above-mentioned results do come true, then Argentina will finish as runners-up of Group C with four points and a goal difference of +1, which will be superior to Mexico, who will have the same points tally but a lower goal difference.

If Saudi Arabia beat Mexico, a draw will not be enough for Lionel Messi’s team, who will be knocked out of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

In case both the matches, Argentina vs Poland and Saudi Arabia vs Mexico, end in stalemates, Poland will top the group while Argentina will progress as the runners up.

A loss vs Poland presents the worst-case scenario for Argentina and will see them bow out of the group stage for the first time since 2002. The Mexico vs Saudi Arabia encounter will be immaterial to the Lionel Messi-led side if they lose to the Polish team.


Featured Image: Alamy