Day 7 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is officially in the books. Saturday's action started with Australia's 1-0 win against Tunisia. After losing 4-1 in their opening match of the Group D against France, Australia managed to put three crucial points on the board against Tunisia, putting the Socceroos in a strong position ahead of the last match of the group stage against Denmark on Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET. Tunisia will face France at the same time.
Les Bleus are the first team into the knockout phase after a 2-1 win over the Danes thanks to a second half double from star man Kylian Mbappe. Andreas Christensen had pulled the Scandinavians level, but Mbappe shot himself to join-top of the scoring charts with his brace to usurp Jean-Pierre Papin and Just Fontaine in the scoring charts. The French hotshot also levels Pele on seven World Cup goals for the most scored by a player younger than 24 in tournament history.
Argentina, after surprisingly losing against Saudi Arabia in their opening match, got a much-needed win against Mexico to get back on track and avoid what would have beeb an unexpected and incredible elimination in the group stage. It took a brilliant long-distance strike from Lionel Messi in the 64th minute to break through against a doggedly defensive Mexico side. And then Enzo Fernandez put the game away in the 87th minute to seal the points.
Meanwhile, Poland defeated Saudi Arabia for first place in Group C. Robert Lewandowski scored his first-ever World Cup goal, while Wojciech Szczesny made a double save on a penalty kick. The results mean Argentina can control their destiny and win the group if they beat Poland.
As always, we will be providing you with takeaways below from the day's action -- and while you're at it, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates about the World Cup, here.
World Cup scores, results
Saturday, Nov. 26
Australia 1, Tunisia 0
Poland 2, Saudi Arabia 0
France 2, Denmark 1
Argentina 2, Mexico 0
Australia surprisingly resilient
The least heralded match of the day quietly produced one of the more surprising results of the tournament. After getting torched by France 4-1 in their opener, Australia came back and passed a difficult test, beating Tunisia 1-0. That means that the least heralded Australian team in recent memory, a side that only qualified for the tournament by running hot in its last chance qualifier against Peru, has their fate in their own hands. A draw against Denmark would get the job done for the extreme underdog. The result against Tunisia wasn't pretty, but despite conceding 14 shots, they held Tunisia to only 0.94 expected goals and made their headed goal from Mitchell Duke in the 23rd minute stand up.
Lewandowski finally gets his goal
The final score was comfortable for Poland with Piotr Zelenski scoring at the end of the first half and Lewandowski adding an insurance goal at the end of the second. It only took Poland's talisman 136 appearances to get that coveted World Cup goal. But in the interim, Saudi Arabia gave as good -- if not better -- than they got. Soccer is a silly old game and the fact that against Argentina, Saudi Arabia managed two goals on three difficult shot means you can only offer rueful smile in response to the fact that against Poland they teed off on goal 16 times, including one from the penalty spot and couldn't buy a goal. But let Mexico be warned, if they think the Saudis are an easy opponent to close out the group stage against, they're going to have a rude surprise waiting for them at the end of this group.
France look formidable against Denmark
The game wasn't as close as the 2-1 score suggested. France aggressively took the game to Denmark, a side that had beaten the French twice in Nations League in the lead-up to this World Cup. Kylian Mbappe had yet another excellent performance, scoring twice, but perhaps the most notable development was Theo Hernandez lodging his second assist of the tournament from left back. Hernandez, the brother of Lucas Hernandez whose serious knee injury in the opener opened the door for the younger Hernandez to play, is a more attacking option. His insistent overlaps have been impossible for teams to deal with so far this tournament, and they mark a change in style for this France side. The team that won the World Cup four years ago was much more defensive and kept its fullbacks in reserve. It's possible that their ultra-attacking style won't last, but it's a refreshing change of pace for the defending champions. Defending World Cup champs have failed to get out of the group for 20 years, but France have already clinched a spot in the knockouts. The Hernandez injury enforced a change in style and that's a major reason why they become the first to clinch in Qatar.
Who else but Messi?
Argentina won, but this was not a performance that inspires confidence. Mexico dirtied up the game, committed a raft of fouls and effectively took Argentina out of everything they wanted to do. Now, to do that, Mexico sacrificed any semblance of an attack of their own, so Argentina were never in doubt of conceding, but to win this tournament Argentina are going to need to figure out better ways to get around dogged defensive performances. It took a major moment from Messi to break the deadlock, and despite his greatness 20-yard, grass-cutting lasers don't come along all that often.
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