On day seven of the World Cup in Qatar, France has become the first country to earn its spot in the knockout stages after beating Denmark 2-1 on Saturday in a game where Kylian Mbappé scored two goals for the French.

With the win over Denmark, world champions France now have six points at the top of Group D and are the first team to be assured of a spot in the Round of 16.

Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez from Argentina gave Argentina a 2-0 victory over Mexico and kept their World Cup dreams alive, while the Mexicans must now beat Saudi Arabia to have any chance of entering the Round of 16.

It also became 2-0 Poland in their exciting game against Saudi Arabiain which the Saudis dominated the game for a long time, but the gritty Poles held the rear and excellent goalkeeping saved them the day.

Australia achieved their first World Cup victory in 12 years in a 1–0 win over Tunisia. The Tunisians still hope to advance from their group stage, but now need to beat France to reach that goal.

Here’s a quick guide summarizing everything you need to know from day seven – Saturday 26 November 2022 – of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Argentina's Marcos Acuna kicks the ball during the World Cup match between Argentina and Mexico.
Marcos Acuna of Argentina kicks the ball during the Group C World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Mexico at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on November 26, 2022 [Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]

France against Denmark

France’s Kylian Mbappé scored two goals to take the defending champions into the knockout stages of the World Cup with their 2-1 win over Denmark in a game that looked likely to end in a stalemate at first.

Les Bleus attacked with all his might from the kick-off and the Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel narrowly tapped in a dangerous header from Adrien Rabiot. Denmark also got its first chance when Andreas Cornelius shot wide on the right.

It was France that finally broke through with a fine attack as Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappé gave his side the lead in the 61st minute. The French striker exchanged passes with Theo Hernandez down the left flank and poked the ball past Schmeichel for the first goal.

But that was quickly canceled out by Andreas Christensen of Denmark, who scored the equalizer seven minutes later.

France's Kylian Mbappé celebrates after scoring his side's second goal.
Kylian Mbappé of France celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the World Cup Group D football match between France and Denmark at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, on November 26, 2022 [Thanassis Stavrakis/AP Photo]

Not to be outdone, Mbappé then scored the winner in the 86th when he jumped acrobatically to lead in the second from an Antoine Griezmann cross, making Les Bleus the first team to progress to the round of 16.

Mbappé scored four goals as France won the World Cup four years ago, including one in the final. He now has 31 goals for France, putting him ahead of Just Fontaine – the all-time top goalscorer at a single World Cup with 13 goals at the 1958 tournament.

“I am very happy with the way my players have reacted,” France coach Didier Deschamps told broadcasters TF1. “We are sure that we are qualified after two games. That gives peace of mind,’ he says.

“We have a strong and solid group of players who want to do big things.”

Danish defender Victor Nelsson said after the game: “At the moment I am very disappointed with the late goal. It is unacceptable to allow a goal so late in the game… We need to beat Australia on Wednesday.”

Andreas Christensen from Denmark celebrates his first goal.
Andreas Christensen of Denmark celebrates scoring their first goal against France at Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar on November 26, 2022 [Hannah Mckay/Reuters]

Argentina vs Mexico

Argentina were aware that another defeat would have sent them out of the tournament on Saturday, and they got off to a poor start against Mexico as they struggled to cope with pressure from the Mexicans from the first kick of the ball.

That battle continued at Lusail Stadium until Lionel Messi found the bottom right corner of the Mexican net from over 20 meters (66 feet) in the 64th minute and fired a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the back of the goal.

Messi was close to tears as he grabbed his jersey and shook it in front of Argentina’s celebrating fans, then blew a kiss and looked to the sky. It will go down in history as one of the most important goals of his career as it revived his team’s World Cup chances.

Argentine fans at the 89,000-seat Lusail Stadium embraced. Some cried. Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez fell to the ground, appearing to bury his face in the turf.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates his first goal.
Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring their first goal against Mexico at Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar, on November 26, 2022 [Pedro Nunes/Reuters]

Argentina’s substitute Enzo Fernandez then added a second goal in the 87th minute, helping the team recover from their 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia, which now ranks as one of the World Cup’s biggest ever upsets.

Fernandez – who is 21 years old – also became the youngest player to score in a World Cup for Argentina since Messi himself in 2006.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders,” Messi said after the game. “It gives us joy and peace of mind to start over.”

“We lived with discomfort and kept the opening game defeat in our minds,” said Messi. “We were eager to get the chance to turn the situation around and luckily we won,” he said.

“All our matches are now finals. We can’t mess it up.”

Argentina's Julian Alvarez jumps up to stop Mexico's Cesar Montes from getting control of the ball.
Argentina’s Julian Alvarez in action with Mexico’s Cesar Montes on November 26, 2022 in Qatar [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

It looked as though Saturday’s Group C match would not go down well with Poland, with Saudi Arabia riding on a wave of confidence following their historic defeat to Argentina earlier this week.

Poland played to a deafening, mostly Saudi audience that was excited, rapturous and boisterous, jeering and booing almost every Polish move.

In a first half dominated by slick Saudi counter-attacks and plenty of play from the Gulf side, Poland was shown three yellow cards in the space of four minutes and was on the wrong side of a VAR penalty decision that the Poles will find harsh .

Players from Poland and Saudi Arabia compete for the ball.
Players from Poland and Saudi Arabia compete for the ball at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on November 26 [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

But it was Piotr Zielinski who opened the scoring for Poland in the 39th minute with a clever finish against the run of play.

Salem Aldawsari had a chance to level Saudi Arabia again towards the end of the half, but his penalty was brilliantly saved by Wojciech Szczesny. The Polish goalkeeper then also saved a shot from Mohammed Alburayk.

With just eight minutes to play, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski robbed Abdulelah Almalki of the ball to score the second of Poland’s 2–0 victory.

Saturday’s victory mattered. Poland needed at least a draw to have a real chance of making it to the last 16 for the first time since 1986, and with Argentina yet to play few would cherish their chances.

“I think the older I get the more emotional I get, and I’m aware that when it comes to the World Cup, it might be my last World Cup,” said Lewandowski after the match, which marked his 77th international goal.

“The result of the team was the most important thing… There is one more day and we have to get ready for the next game because we don’t know what will happen. We have to do everything we can.”

Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard said he was proud of his team’s achievements; Saudi Arabia had twice as many shots on target as Poland.

‘I don’t think many people [thought] Saudi Arabia was able to play this kind of football,” he said. “This is why I’m proud of them,” he said after the game.

Polish and Saudi Arabian players surround a referee who is holding the ball during their match.
Polish and Saudi Arabian players during their match in Group C of the World Cup on November 26, 2022 at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Renard referred to the vocal support the Green Falcons received at Education City Stadium, where the enthusiastic Saudi fans turned the game into a home game, and he hopes for more of the same ahead of the final group game against Mexico on November 30 in Lusail. where his team defeated Argentina.

“I hope they don’t give up,” Renard said of the Saudi fans.

“Because if you are a fan, you have to support your team when it’s a great day, but you also have to support your team to make history in the third game.”

Tunisia vs Australia

It was a messy start to the match between Tunisia and Australia until the “Socceroos” went on when striker Mitchell Duke scored midway through the first half with a swift header past keeper Aymen Dahmen to put Australia ahead.

Duke’s goal came after he collected a pass from a goalkeeper near the center of the field and made a quick touch to put Craig Goodwin down the left flank. Duke then sprinted forward to nod Goodwin’s deflected cross into the far corner with his back to goal.

Tunisian and Australian players race for possession.
Tunisian and Australian players race for possession at Al Janoub Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on November 26, 2022 [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

Duke celebrated Australia’s winning goal by forming a “J” with his fingers in tribute to his son Jaxson, who was in the stands.

The score appeased the large contingent of Tunisian fans among the crowd of 41,823 at Al Janoub Stadium and sent the small groups of yellow-clad Australian supporters into delirium.

Tunisia had impressed as they held European Championship semi-finalists Denmark to a 0–0 draw in their opener, only making occasional threats against Australia until the Aussies sat back and defended towards the end.

Tunisia’s best chance came when skipper Youssef Msakni shot just wide.

It was an emotional day for Australia, whose 1-0 victory over Tunisia was only their third win in 18 World Cup games.

Tunisia is still trying to get out of the group stage for the first time in its six World Cup appearances, but must now beat France.

“This edition of the World Cup has brought surprises to everyone. The bigger teams have been beaten,” said Tunisian coach Jalel Kadri.

“We have one more game to go and we’re going to indulge ourselves.”

Tunisian fans cheering at Al Janoub Stadium.
Tunisian fans cheering at Al Janoub Stadium in Doha, Qatar on November 26, 2022 [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

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