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Argentina is reportedly a favourite to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but Lionel Scaloni downplays this claim.

Argentina confirmed their place in the last 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a 2-0 win over Poland in their final group game of the tournament.

Lionel Messi’s penalty was saved in the 41st minute by Wojciech Szczesny and the two teams went into the half-time break without having scored a goal. Argentina’s immense pressure paid off within seconds of the second half.

A cross from Nahuel Molina was met by Alexis Mac Allister, whose scuffed shot found its way past the Juventus shot-stopper. The three points were sealed after Julian Alvarez’s unstoppable top-corner finish from inside the box in the 67th minute.

La Albiceleste started their 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage campaign in the worst possible manner with a 2-1 loss against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Messi urged his team to stay united and keep their calm following the shocking loss.

Julián Álvarez starts alongside Lionel Messi with Argentina’s World Cup dreams on the line 🇦🇷

It wasn’t too long ago that he was just a kid trying to get a picture with his hero 🥺❤️

View image on Twitter

It seems to have paid off, as Argentina won their next two group-stage games by the same 2-0 scoreline. They finished top of Group C and will face Australia in the last 16 – a highly favorable fixture for the two-time FIFA World Cup winners.

However, manager Lionel Scaloni has played down claims that his team are amongst the favorites to win the trophy in Qatar. He told reporters after the game (h/t TyC Sports):

“We are not candidates or favourites, we are still the same. We are a difficult team and we are going to fight. It is totally wrong to think that we are going to be champions by winning today, it is not appropriate.”

Argentina manager not taking Australia lightly ahead of 2022 FIFA World Cup meeting

Scaloni has claimed that the last 16 clash against Australia on December 3 will not be an easy one. The Socceroos finished second in Group D after a 1-0 win against Denmark on 30 November.

He added via the aforementioned source:

“In the World Cup they are all difficult . Saudi Arabia beat us and nobody expected it. Anyone who thinks that Australia will be easy is wrong because it didn’t prove to be so.”

The scenes in Australia at 3.30am.

The beauty of the World Cup.

Australia have won one and drawn another in seven meetings across competitions against Argentina in their history. The Argentine tactician continued:

“You have to value your rival, but playing like today we’re going to complicate it and in the end the result could be what we expect .”

The South American nation were dominant against the Poles, keeping 74% possession of the ball and getting 12 shots on target. At the other end of the pitch, they restricted Poland to just four shots, with none of them being on target.

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