Julian Alvarez (9) of Argentina celebrates with his teammates after scoring the second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 on Nov. 30, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Anadolu)

ANKARA – Argentina beat Poland 2-0 to advance to the Round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup as the South American football powerhouse won Group C on Wednesday.

The Argentine national team were awarded a penalty after Poland’s goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny fouled Lionel Messi, who went up for a header.

Szczesny saved the firm penalty taken by Messi in the 38th minute.

But in the early minutes of the second half, Argentina took the lead as midfielder Alexis Mac Allister's shot hit the bar and went into the back of Poland’s net.

Argentine forward Julian Alvarez unleashed a vicious strike in the area to double the lead for his team in the 68th minute.

Messi-led Argentina displayed a commanding performance against Poland and secured a 2-0 win at Stadium 974.

Argentina, who has six points, will take on Group D runners-up Australia in the last 16 phase.

Despite the loss, Poland completed the group stage in second position with four points.

Poland survived and qualified for the knockout stage on goal average. They will face defending champions France next.

Third-placed Mexico has four points but conceded one more goal than Poland did in the group stage.

The points and goal difference between Mexico and Poland were tied when Mexico were leading their match with Saudi Arabia 2-0.

But Saudi Arabia scored an injury-time goal to upset Mexico.

Mexico won the match 2-1 but were eliminated from Qatar 2022 after having a minus goal difference.

Saudi Arabia has three points to come last in the group. Like Mexico, Herve Renard's men returned home. (Anadolu)