World Cup 2022 in review: Day 7 - Messi's magic finish helps keep Argentina's World Cup hopes alive

A daily report from the 2022 World Cup, reviewing the day’s matches, saves, goals, gaffes and moments of magic from Qatar.

Published: 26 November 2022 - 9.13pm

The greatest sporting show on earth continued with four more games on Saturday.

Australia secured a historic victory over Tunisia before Robert Lewandowski scored his World Cup goal as Poland overcame Saudi Arabia.

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The day’s results

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia

France 2-1 Denmark

Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Match summaries

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

Australia kept their qualification hopes alive with a historic win over Tunisia at Al Janoub Stadium.

Mitchell Duke scored a fine header after 23 minutes to seal their third ever World Cup win and first since victory over Serbia in 2010.

The forward expertly flicked Craig Goodwin’s cross into the far corner to spark jubilation among the small Australian contingent who were overwhelmingly outnumbered by a hostile Tunisia support.

It was a deserved victory Graham Arnold's side who had to come through two play-offs to qualify for the tournament and were heavily beaten by France in their opener.

Towering Stoke City defender Harry Souttar was imperious in defence as Tunisia chased the game, making several goal-saving blocks and crucial interventions.

The Carthage Eagles, who drew their first match with Denmark, changed their system in the second half and went close through Youssef Msakni but failed to breach an organised defence.

The result leaves Australia with qualification in their own hands and in second place in Group D with one game remaining - a huge clash against Denmark on Wednesday.

Speaking after the match, Socceroos hero Duke said: “No words, such a big moment for my family and my supporters.

“It is the best feeling in the world but try not to get too caught up because there is one more game to win and get out of the group.”

Australia supporters celebrate a historic victory over Tunisia

Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia

Robert Lewandowski scored his first World Cup goal as Poland overcame Saudi Arabia in a pulsating encounter.

The legendary forward was visibly emotional after wrapping up the win for his country in a compelling affair in which both sides created several goalscoring chances.

Saudi Arabia, who famously beat Argentina in their opener, started brightly but fell behind to a superbly worked Piotr Zielinski goal on the stroke of half time.

They had a chance to equalise from the penalty spot minutes later, but Wojciech Szczesny denied Salem Al Dawsari and made a stunning follow-up save, tipping Mohammed Al Burayk’s close-range effort over the bar.

Saudi Arabia looked vibrant throughout and continued to push forward after the break, with Saud Abdulhamid and Al Brikan coming close.

But Poland also threatened and Arkadiusz Milik and Lewandowski both struck the woodwork before the Barcelona forward pounced on a rare defensive error before slotting home.

He robbed Abdelulelah Al Malki of possession in the 82nd minute and his composed finish effectively sealed the crucial victory for Czesław Michniewicz’s team.

The victory moves them to the top of Group C ahead of Argentina’s clash with Mexico and leaves them well placed to reach the last 16 for the first time since 1986.

Herve Renard’s side face Mexico in their final group game on Wednesday and can still reach the knockouts.

Lewandowski sealed the win with his first World Cup goal

France 2-1 Denmark

A familiar tale at this World Cup played out once again at Stadium 974 as a goalless game burst into life in the second half to produce an entertaining second 45 after a fairly dull first half.

France opened the scoring after Kylian Mbappe applied the finish to a wonderful counter-attack down the left hand side, linking up brilliantly with Theo Hernandez to pounce on the AC Milan man's cutback and slot past Kasper Schmeichel in the Denmark goal.

But the Danes fought back within minutes when former Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen stooped low to head a deflected corner into the roof of the net.

It looked as though Denmark would hold on for a draw until a moment of brilliance between Antoine Greizmann and Mbappe unlocked the Danish defence for a second time.

Spying Mbappe lurking at the back post, Griezmann wicked inswinging cross to the back post that the PSG striker bundled into the net from a yard out.

That result means France became the first side to qualify for the knockout stages of the 2022 World Cup, 

Denmark, meanwhile, know they must beat Australia if they are to remain in the competition after the Socceroos defeated Tunisia to move into second place earlier in the day.

Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Argentina secured a hard-fought victory to keep their World Cup campaign alive against an under-par Mexico in the final game of the day on Saturday.

There wasn't a huge deal of quality on show throughout the game until Lionel Messi popped up just after the hour mark with a memorable opener to ease Argentina nerves.

The PSG forward found a pocket of space on the edge of the box and took a quick touch before lacing a precise finish into the bottom corner, celebrating wildly in front of the raucous travelling fans inside the Lusail Stadium.

Any hopes of a Mexican equaliser were dashed on the 86th minute when second half substitute Enzo Fernandez blessed the game with a moment of quality unbefitting the rest of the match.

The in-demand Benfica midfielder worked a half-yard of space inside the Mexican penalty area and sent a beautiful curling finish high into the top corner to seal three vital points for Lionel Scaloni's men.

If Argentina lost they would have been eliminated from the tournament - but on the back of this victory, they know a win against Poland next would see them likely to progress as group champions.

Goal of the day

Enzo Fernandez

Benfica's prized asset showed exactly why he's fast becoming one of the most wanted midfielders in Europe with a stunning finish to seal the victory for Argentina against Mexico.

The 21-year-old picked up the ball just inside the box on the left side of the penalty area, dropped the shoulder and found a pocket of space with a stepover to send a beautiful curling effort into the top far corner of the net.

Save of the day

Wojciech Szczesny

Szczesny pulled off a stunning double-save as Poland kept their hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

The Juventus goalkeeper saved Salem Aldawsari’s spot-kick before quickly reacting to tip Mohammed Al Burayk’s rebound over the bar.

The former Arsenal keeper produced a sensational double-save

Player of the day

Kylian Mbappe

The French striker is almost single-handedly carrying his side's attack right now and it was his brace that helped see off a dogged Denmark on Saturday afternoon.

His first was an instinctive finish after an incisive passing move, linking up with left-back Theo Hernandez to bury a brilliant cutback from the AC Milan full back.

And his match-winning second showed off his lightning fast movement and superb football IQ as he lost his marker at the back post to bury a superb cross from Antoine Greizmann.

That was his 14th goal in his last 12 France games and one that took him level with the great Zinedine Zidane in the list of all-time French goalscorers.

Magic moments

  • France's jubilant celebrations at the final whistle after becoming the first team to qualify for the knockout stages in Qatar.

  • Australia striker Mitchell Duke celebrating his matchwinning goal by saluting his young son watching on in the crowd.

  • An unbelievable atmosphere inside the Lusail Stadium as Mexico and Argentina went toe-to-toe looking to keep their World Cup dreams alive.

  • Lionel Messi's vital strike from range to help claw back Argentina's hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Quote of the day

Mitchell Duke after scoring the winner for Australia against Tunisia

“No words, such a big moment for my family and my supporters. It is the best feeling in the world. The best moment of my life and my football career.”

Image of the day

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Upcoming fixtures

Sunday 27 November: 

Group E: Japan vs Costa Rica - 10am KO

Group F: Belgium vs Morocco - 1pm KO

Group F: Croatia vs Canada - 4pm KO

Group E: Spain vs Germany - 7pm KO