Express & Star

Time’s up for Wolves striker Raul Jimenez and Mexico

Poland scraped into the last 16 of the World Cup on goal difference after a backs to the walls performance saw them lose 2-0 to Group C winners Argentina.


With the group on a knife edge heading into the final round of fixtures, Mexico conceded a last-gasp goal in a 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia, sending Poland through after it had seemed for much of the second half that they would advance purely on fair play rules. Second-half goals from Premier League duo Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez ensured Argentina progressed after Lionel Messi had a controversial penalty saved by Wojciech Szczensy.

Messi will now lead Argentina out versus Australia in the next round, while Poland’s reward for squeaking through is a tough test against reigning champions France.

Playing the 999th game of his senior career, Messi had two early chances saved by Szczesny as he struggled to get into the contest, with Robert Lewandowski suffering from a similar issue at the other end of the pitch.

Mexico missed out on reaching the last 16 of the World Cup despite beating Saudi Arabia 2-1.

El Tri started the final round of Group C fixtures in bottom spot but came so close to hurdling into the top two after second-half goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez, the latter a spectacular 25-yard free-kick. Mexico boss Gerardo Martino brought on Wolves striker Raul Jimenez late on but their hopes were destroyed when Saudi skipper Salem Al Dawsari worked a clever one-two with Hatan Bahbri and skilfully converted.