Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia
I may be exaggerating but any fan of the game must have wanted to see how Saudi Arabia would fare against Poland after their stunning upset of Argentina in MD-1. And indeed, the Green Falcons put in a follow-up performance that did not disappoint. They pushed the Polish defense to the limit from the very beginning of the match. But Poland drew first blood when Robert Lewandowski set up Napoli's playmaker Piotr Zielinski for the first goal of the match at the 40th minute.
Five minutes later, VAR awarded the Saudis a penalty, but Wojciech Sczcesny read Salem Al Dawsari's spot-kick correctly and also saved the follow-up. The Saudis threw more players forward into the attack in the second half, but a heroic Polish defense denied all their attempts. Poland had a couple of counterattacks after the hour mark but the post and the bar denied Arkadiusz Milik and Lewandowski, so the latter remained on the quest to score his first goal in a World Cup.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Saudi defender Abdulelah Al Malki lost focus for a moment and was stripped by Lewandowski, who then slid the ball by the goalkeeper to finally achieve his long awaited dream of rippling the net in a World Cup, making the final score 2-0.
Argentina 2-0 Mexico
The build-up to the highly-anticipated Argentina versus Mexico match petered out as time passed in the first half. Mexico was able to break down Argentinian spirits with a well-organised formation, blocking the pitch from all angles. We probably haven’t seen a more boring half of football in any other game of this World Cup.
The effect of the forced substitution of Mexico captain Jose Guardado near the end of the first half began to become apparent in the second half, as Argentina was able to get deep inside Mexican territory and threaten Ochoa's goal.
Twenty minutes into the second half — and out of the blue — Lionel Messi found himself right outside the edge of the box in front of goal. So as he usually does, he sniped the ball along the only path that would see the ball rattling the net. Messi celebrated like never before, as if all the pressure accumulated since the loss to Saudi had suddenly lifted.
Mexico responded by switching on their attack, but Argentina did not sit back and kept on the pressure, looking for a second goal to seal the victory. And it was Benfica's midfielder Enzo Fernandez who curled the ball from the edge of the box into the back of the net (second best goal of the World Cup?) to complete Argentina's bounce back to winning ways.
Tunisia 0-1 Australia
Tunisia and Australia played the early slot of Day 7 to mark the start of the second round of play in Group D. After losing 1-4 to France in MD1, the Australian team fielded more bodies in attack this time, which pinned the Tunisians back on their heels. This Australian pressure paid off as Mitchell Duke scored the only goal of the match at the 23rd minute.
With their goal deficit from MD-1 in mind, Australia did not pull back but instead played a more slow-paced possession game until midway in the second half. At that point, fresh Tunisian legs won the Africans more control of the ball, and the Australians did withdraw and sit on their lead. This tactic proved successful in warding off danger and the Australians left the pitch with all three points.
France 2-1 Denmark
The Denmark v France fixture delivered a world-class tie before World Cup Qatar even reached the knockouts. The first half started with France dominating, and all signs pointed towards a repeat of their 4-1 dismantling Australia. But it did not take Denmark long to settle into the match, and they played even with France for the remainder of the first half.
The second half began the same way the first half ended, with attacks from both sides. In the 61st minute, Theo Hernandez and Kilyan Mbappe finally orchestrated a perfect one-two pass and the PSG superstar tapped the ball into the net.
Eight minutes later, Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen answered Mbappe’s goal with one of his own, scoring from a header that was assisted by Joachim Andersen from a corner kick. Game on!
Denmark came close to taking the lead in the 81st minute, but Martin Braithwaite’s tap-in from substitute Kasper Dolberg hit the outside of the post. Mbappe was more fortunate five minutes later, when he received the perfect cross from Antoine Griezmann and placed the ball in the net with his thigh to win both the game and France’s qualification to the Round of 16. Undefeated after two, France now stands a very high chance of winning the group in MD3.