Alexis MacAllister of Argentina celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C match against Poland on Wednesday, which held up as the winning goal in the 2-0 victory. Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Argentina scored twice in the second half to shut out Poland 2-0 in Group C play at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday, qualifying for the Round of 16.
The victory at Stadium 974 in Doha gave Argentina top spot in the group, finishing with six points and a 2-0-1 record.
Despite the loss, Poland advanced to the next stage, as well, with four points and a 1-1-1 record. Poland edged out Mexico, which had an identical record, based on the goal differential tiebreaker.
Mexico's 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia Wednesday wasn't enough to catch Poland. Saudi Arabia, the fourth country in Group C, also was eliminated.
Argentina cruised to victory on second-half goals by Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez, as the country looks to capture its first World Cup victory since the late Diego Maradona captained the team in 1986.
Argentina applied pressure early, firing nine shots at Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, including a missed penalty kick by Lionel Messi, which was awarded after video replay.
But Szczesny, who plays for the Italian Serie A club Juventus, withstood the barrage during the opening 45 minutes.
The Round of 16 begins Saturday, when Argentina will play Australia, after the Socceroos upset Denmark to advance from Group D.
Poland will play France, which finished atop Group D with a 2-0-1 record. That match is scheduled for Sunday.
Four of the six matches in the next stage are set, with two on Monday yet to be finalized.
Julian Alvarez of Argentina celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Poland during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C match at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, on November 30, 2022. Argentina won the game 2-0 Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo