World Cup round-up: Socceroos bounce back; France broke holders' curse; Messi Magic brought down Mexico

November, 27/2022 - 15:12
The Socceroos' resolve was proven through their aggressive pressure and attack in the first half. Crosses were sent into the box where Graham Arnold's men had the height advantage.

 

Lionel Messi (10)'s wonder goal opened up the score and gave Argentina a lifeline. — AFP/VNA Photo

Anh Đức

HÀ NỘI — The World Cup has gone finished its first week of competition, and the twists and turns have presented themselves over and over again.

Socceroos bounce back

 

Mitchell Duke (15) celebrating Australia's first goal at the 2022 World Cup. — AFP/VNA Photo

After their 1-4 hammering at the hands of France, a win was needed for Australia to progress.

The Socceroos' resolve was proven through their aggressive pressure and attack in the first half. Crosses were sent into the box where Graham Arnold's men had the height advantage.

From one such cross came Australia's opening goal, courtesy of Mitchell Duke with a header to the top corner.

After conceding Tunisia pushed for the equaliser, however, luck was not on their side, as Drager and Msakni's shot was not on target.

Graham Arnold's side was defensively sound in the second half, whereas Tunisia could only pump long balls forward for Youssef Msakni, who did not have his best day and couldn't help Tunisia escape a 1-0 defeat.

Mbappe brace broke 12-year-old holders' curse

 

An Mbappe double sunk Denmark — AFP/VNA Photo

The match between current champions France and Euro semifinalists Denmark started slowly and cautiously. Denmark was defensive and waited for counterattacks, and seemed happy with a draw.

France was dominating in the first half, having lots of chances in the final third, however, they were stopped by Kasper Schmeichel's brilliance.

But the former Leicester keeper could not stall France for long. In the 61st minute, from a one-two with Theo Hernandez, superstar Kylian Mbappe opened the score for France.

Denmark his back just minutes later from a corner by Christian Eriksen, which reached Andreas Christensen who beat Lloris at point-blank range. They almost complete the comeback, had Lindstrom beaten Lloris inside the box.

Didier Deschamps brought on Ibrahima Konaté and Kingsley Coman to bolster France, and slowly grabbed the game back. In the 86th minute, Mbappe tapped in Griezmann's cross with his thighs and brought France the three points they needed.

France have now qualified for the Round of 16, becoming the first title holders to progress through the group stage since Brazil in 2006. Denmark have to win against Australia on Wednesday and await the result of France and Tunisia.

Lewandowski pulls Saudi Arabia back down to Earth 

Robert Lewandowski cried tears of joy after scoring his first World Cup goal. — AFP/VNA Photo

A confident Saudi Arabia went into their match against Poland, after their shock victory against Argentina behind them.

The Green Falcons, surprisingly dominated against Czeslaw Michniewicz's Poland, keeping 64 per cent of possession and making 16 shots.

Poland had to resort to fouls to put out the fiery Saudis, getting booked three times in the process. Michniewicz's team was cornered but pulled out the uppercut that stunned the Saudis near the break.

Robert Lewandowski, not playing in his usual role as a poacher, became Poland's target man and tried to make space for his teammates. Such play finally succeeded in the 39th minute, when Lewandowski passed to Piotr Zielinski who was inside the box and tapped in the empty net.

Hervé Renard's team had a golden chance to equalise in the 45th minute when Krystian Bielik brought down Al-Shehri inside the penalty area. VAR reviewed the incident and gave Saudi Arabia a penalty, but Salem Al-Dawsari could not beat Wojciech Szczesny from the spot.

Saudi Arabia went all-out attack in the second half, but Michniewicz's defence stayed strong. The White Eagles even got their second goal, when Lewandowski stole the ball from Al-Malki's foot right at the edge of the box and slotted in his first-ever World Cup goal.

Lewandowski's goal solidified Poland's victory on the night, as well as first place in Group C.

Messi saving Argentina from potential elimination

35-year-old Argentinian captain Lionel Messi was instrumental in Argentina's 2-0 win against Mexico on Saturday.

Mexico's coach, Tata Martino, also a former coach of Messi at Argentina and Barcelona, said before the match that Mexico knew how to stop Messi from reaching victory.

Martino was correct, for 63 minutes at least, when his side started to be complacent and did not mark Messi, who thumped in a cracker with his left foot that beat Guillermo Ochoa.

This was Messi' eighth goal ever in a World Cup after 21 matches. But his magic did not stop there.

In the 87th minute, Messi made a lobbed pass toward the box, where starlet Enzo Fernandez was free. The 21-year-old striker hit a screamer in Ochoa's top corner, cementing Argentina's victory.

Much more work is needed by Lionel Scaloni's side to qualify. — VNS

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