Full-time: Poland 0-2 Argentina
Argentina win the group! They are through and will face Australia in the last 16. Poland have to wait to find out if they are second. Mexico have a couple more minutes to find a goal!
90+5 min: There will be seven minutes added on in the Saudi Arabia-Mexico game. That one is running slightly behind this one, so Poland will be made to wait to find out if they are through. Remember, one more Mexico goal or one more Argentina goal, and it will be Mexico that go through in second place!
90+3 min: Poland clear the ball off the line! Tagliafico is released down the left and he defly dinks the ball over the onrushing Szczesny but Kiwior races back and nods the ball off the line! That was a goal-saving intervention and keeps Poland in second place! Drama! DRAMA!
90+2 min: Argentina are keeping the ball without much intent to attack, and Poland seem happy to defend their goal difference.
“Canada won the 2000 Gold Cup in a pretty stunning upset over Mexico, but they only got through because they won a COIN TOSS over South Korea in the group stage,” emails Michael Stewart.
90 min: Six added minutes. Poland are clinging on.
88 min: This is excellent stuff, isn’t it? Bookings, who knew they could be so fun.
“Considering that all the stadiums are so close together, couldn’t they do penalties to decide who goes through?” suggests Daniel McGraw via email. “Just bus one team to the other site!”
Danny Murphy has suggested that shots on target might be a better metric, but then we might end up with a silly scenario where Poland and Mexico are shooting from the half-way line, just to get the stats up.
86 min: Golden chance for Lautaro Martinez! He’s sent clean through on goal but drags his shot woefully wide! Poland are living right on the edge here, particularly as in the other game, Mexico are pouring forward to get the goal that would send them into second on goal difference.
84 min: More changes: Almada becomes the first MLS player to represent the Albicelestes at a World Cup in coming on for Mac Allister, while for Poland, Krychowiak comes off for Piatek.
82 min: If Poland get two more yellow cards to tie with Mexico, then Fifa will DRAW LOTS to decide who goes through to the knockout stages.
80 min: More changes for Argentina: Lautaro Martinez and German Pezzella are on for Enzo Fernandez and Julián Álvarez, the goalscorer.
78 min: Yellow card for Krychowiak, who hacks down De Paul. That is significant, because it raises the number of bookings Poland have got this tournament to five. Remember, Mexico are on seven bookings, and that’s the only thing keeping Poland in second place at present!
75 min: “It’s odd that Poland is persisting with a narrow defensive line, considering how much joy the Argentines are having down the flanks,” emails Kári Tulinius. “They must be worried about Messi dancing past the last man, but it leaves them so exposed.”
I think Poland are backing themselves with defending crossess, but they are still struggling to pick up Messi and co in front of the defence.
72 min: One goal changes everything though. And Argentina twice come close to making it 3-0, which would send Poland into third. First Messi fluffs his lines. It’s a chance you would expect him to convert nine times out of ten, as the ball is pulled back to his left foot on the penalty spot, but the little magician scuffs his shot straight at Szczesny!
Next, Messi releases Alvarez with an inch-perfect through ball … the Manchester City striker bears down on goal but is given a faint nudge just as he strikes it into the side netting. There are half-hearted claims for a penalty but Kiwior probably was just on the right side of legal with his little push. Group C remains on a knife edge!
So, this is where we are:
Poland 0-2 Argentina
Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico.
That all means that Argentina lead the group on six points, while Poland and Mexico are tied on four points, with the same goal difference and the same goal scored! That means Poland are still second, because they have a cleaner disciplinary record! They have had four yellow cards to Mexico’s seven bookings. How galling would it be to go out of the World Cup on bookings!
GOAL! Poland 0-2 Argentina (Alvarez 67)
A dangerous game, and that’s why! What a goal this is! Enzo Fernandez drives at the defence and finds Alvaraz, who takes a touch, swivels and blasts a rocket into the top corner. A brilliant, instinctive finish. That should seal Argentina as group winners, but what about Poland?
66 min: Looks like Poland are going to sit in here and protect their goal difference, which is the only thing keeping them second at present. A dangerous game.
64 min: Messi sets off on another run, he’s beginning to enjoy himself now that Argentina are ahead. Cash makes an important block to see off the attack.
62 min: Poland make their third change: Szymanski for Bielik.
60 min: Chance for Mac Allister! The ball pinballs around the box and a square pass falls to the Argentinian on his left foot, but he strikes straight at Szczesny, who did well to hold the ball.
58 min: Argentina make a change: Paredes comes on for Di Maria and forTagliafico for Acuna, who was booked.
Wow, TWO goals in the other game in this group, and they have both gone to Mexico!
Here’s things as they stand, then: Argentina top the group now they are ahead, and Poland are clinging onto second by goal difference. In fact, if Mexico score one more, Mexico will go into second. Fine, fine margins.
53 min: Messi sets off on a mazy run, scampering towards Poland’s box, with the defenders too scared to touch him. He tries a shot but actually kicks the ball with his standing foot. See kids, it can happen to anyone.
51 min: Chance for Glik! The first real opportunity for Poland and it falls to the veteran centre back, who glances just wide from a Zielinski free-kick.
50 min: Yellow card for Acuna for a very naughty challenge on for for Kaminski. Deserved.
49 min: I was just typing out the half-time substitutions when the goal went in, so I’ll tell you about those now. Michal Skoras and Jakub Kaminski are on for Frankowski and Swiderski. The latter was woeful in that first half, the Poland change going into this match really didn’t work.
GOAL! Poland 0-1 Argentina (Mac Allister 47)
Argentina are ahead, 60 seconds after the restart! A massive goal by the Brighton midfielder. Molina got to the byline and cut the ball back where Mac Allister was waiting – the 23-year-old didn’t make a clean connection as he swept it with his right foot, but the direction was perfect and just kissed the far post after passing Szczesny. That should liven the game up!
Peeeep! And we’re underway again (at the second attempt, with Poland encroaching on the half-way line at the restart).
Red Jelly Donut is quite right. I left this off in my preamble. The referee is none other than Dutchman (and Rotterdam police inspector) Danny Makkelie.
It’s also goalless in the other game in this group. Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico. Any goal in that match and Argentina will drop down from second. But it’s as we were at kick-off.
A reminder that the winner of this group will play Australia in the last 16, and the runner up will play … world champions France.
Half-time: Poland 0-0 Argentina
Argentina will feel very unlucky not to be ahead.
45+2 min: Poland have been so, so poor. Krychowiak, who has somehow managed to get the No 10 shirt in this team, is fouled which gives Poland a rare chance to throw bodies forward. But Zielinski crosses straight into the arms of Emiliano Martinez. Eeeesh.
45 min: Three minutes added on here. Three minutes for Poland to survive.
44 min: For all their creativity, Argentina are missing that killer instinct in the box. Poland are dealing with the crosses easily enough. I’d be getting Lautaro Martinez on sharpish in the second half, if I was Scaloni.
42 min: Back come Argentina again. Alvarez so nearly latches onto a loose ball in the box, then Di Maria drops a shoulder and whips in a dangerous cross to the back post, and Cash does brilliantly to hook the ball away, when facing his own goal.
40 min: By Messi’s standards, this was a poor penalty. Struck well enough but a good height for Szczesny. That said, the Juventus keeper did well to read it, and sent the rebound safely away.
Penalty saved! It remains Poland 0-0 Argentina!
Szczesny makes up for his foul, diving wonderfully to his left to deny Messi! A huge save in the context of this group!