Football News

2022 World Cup Group C final standings: Who is through to the last 16?

By Andy Watson

2022 World Cup Group C final standings: Who is through to the last 16?

Published: 21:00, 30 November 2022

Argentina have confirmed their place in the knockouts as winners of Group C, with Poland joining them in the last 16 by the skin of their teeth.

It was a breathtaking, drama-fuelled final matchday in Group C, with Argentina getting the job done comfortably at the Stadium 974 against Poland, winning 2-0 to banish the ghosts of that opening-day defeat to Saudi Arabia. For Poland, it wasn’t quite so comfortable.

They went into the final matchday atop the table and knowing a result would have been enough to see them through. As it turned out, Robert Lewandowski and Co were relying on events elsewhere to determine whether they would progress or not.

At one point, with Poland losing 0-2 and Mexico beating Saudi Arabia 2-0, the European nation were going through simply because they had received less yellow cards across the tournament than El Tri. Czeslaw Michniewicz’s men were level on points, goal difference and goals scored with Mexico, meaning it was being determined by disciplinary points.

It was absolute carnage between the two games, with Argentina continuing to knock on the door deep into the match and Mexico throwing the kitchen sink at the Saudi goal (their 26 shots is the most at Qatar 2022 by any nation in a single match). Ultimately, Gerardo Martino’s hell-for-leather approach in the dying embers left Mexico exposed at the back, and Saudi Arabia reduced the deficit to 2-1 in the 95th minute. And that, well, that was a wrap after a frantic second half.

So, Poland are through with a better goal difference. In the end Saudi Arabia’s late goal wouldn’t have mattered as Poland’s disciplinary record was far cleaner than Mexico’s, collecting just four yellow cards to their seven. They were safe regardless of the late strike by Salem Al Dawsari.

But what drama it gave the neutral in a nerve-jangling conclusion to Group C. It means Poland face France in the last 16, and Argentina take on Australia. Poland must also reserve a special appreciation for Wojciech Szczesny, whose penalty save in the first half preserved the nation’s goal difference.

2022 World Cup Group C final results

Tuesday 22 November 2022

  • Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia, Lusail Iconic Stadium
  • Mexico 0-0 Poland, Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Saturday 26 November 2022

  • Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia, Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
  • Argentina 2-0 Mexico, Lusail Iconic Stadium

Wednesday 30 November 2022

  • Poland 0-2 Argentina, Stadium 974, Doha
  • Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico, Lusail Iconic Stadium

2022 World Cup standings