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Winners & Losers from Day 11 of the World Cup

El Triste, Australia advance, and old dudes keep on rocking.

FBL-WC-2022-MATCH40-KSA-MEX Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico nearly gave us a surprise appearance in the Round of 16, and came even closer to a comical advancement for Poland by grace of not having as many yellow cards as Mexico. Instead Mexico gave up a stoppage time goal to Saudi Arabia and things shook out in a much more normal way in Group C. Lionel Messi missed a penalty, but Argentina still made pretty simple work of Poland.

Australia won and advanced, while Tunisia and Mexico won but didn’t do enough before the last game to be able to move on. We’re nearly finished with the Group Stage, so let’s get on with it.


Australia: I’m not going to try to be cute here, Australia are very clear winners. The men’s team hadn’t won a single game in their last two trips to the World Cup, and now they’ve doubled their all-time World Cup win total. They’re set to face Argentina in the Round of 16, having only lost to France, possibly the best team in the tournament. Just look at what it meant back home, at 3 AM local time, to see them advance:

Aging stars looking to add a crowning World Cup moment to their careers: The hope still lives for the likes of Leo Messi and Robert Lewandowski to make an incredible run at this World Cup to suit their legacies away from their national teams. Messi’s chances of doing so are a bit higher, as he and Argentina face Australia in the Round of 16, while Lewandowski and Poland get to play France. Poland nearly missed out on advancing, as their 2-0 loss to Argentina meant that they were only ahead of Mexico on Fair Play points until the 5th minute of added time in Mexico’s game against Saudi Arabia, when the Green Falcons scored to make it 2-1 and assure Poland’s spot in the next round.


Tata Martino: Tata Martino has resigned from his job as the El Tri manager, now that Mexico have been eliminated from the World Cup. Following two rather disappointing games in the Group Stage, they nearly did enough to advance thanks to Argentina’s win. All they needed to do was beat Saudi Arabia by 3 goals, and they were up 2-0 and looking for a third from the 52nd minute on. They got close, having a goal called back for offside and creating plenty of other chances, but ultimately Saudi Arabia got the game’s final goal deep in added time. Tata had been in charge since 2019, and in that time his team has failed to reach the heights many would have expected. I guess he’ll just have to go back to club coaching.

Tunisia: Tunisia got a win against a heavily rotated France, but unfortunately they needed a bit of help from Denmark as well to have a chance at advancing. Neither side created a ton of chances, but it was Tunisia that had gone closest. They had an early goal chalked off for offside (correctly, I’d add) and had a couple of other near misses before Wahbi Khazri finished off a gorgeous bit of play with a deft touch in the 58th minute. It was a valiant performance, one of three from Tunisia, but sadly their tournament has ended.

Storylines to watch on Day 12

7:00 AM - Croatia vs. Belgium: Belgium got to the Airing of Grievances a little early for Festivus this year. There are some upset and hurt feelings following Kevin de Bruyne’s comments about the team being too old, but apparently it was important for them to get their feelings off their chests. Now everyone knows where they stand after a conversation that followed their 2-0 loss to Morocco, but is that actually going to be enough to improve their performance? Belgium come into the game as favorites according to plenty of folks smarter than me, but that depends on them playing like a team that they haven’t been in this tournament.

Watch the game on Fox, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

7:00 AM - Canada vs. Morocco: Canada will be playing for pride and a bit of consolation in this one, but Morocco have a point to prove and the chance to advance in the top spot in Group F. Expect Alphonso Davies to look like a star, but Morocco’s collection of top-end talent like Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech to see them through. Listen closely and hope that you hear some quality French trash talk.

Watch the game on FS1, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

11:00 AM - Japan vs. Spain: Japan have offered surprises both good and bad through their first two games. With their World Cup lives on the line, they’ll need to produce another surprise. They did beat Germany already, and Germany drew Spain, so by the transitive property they’ve already beaten Spain anyway and maybe they don’t need that big of a surprise. Against Germany it was a pair of Bundesliga players who earned the win for Japan, so the issue against Costa Rica must have been that no one on the team plays their club football in Costa Rica. In that case, look for Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes) and Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) to prove the difference against Spain.

Watch the game on Fox, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

11:00 AM - Costa Rica vs. Germany: I didn’t think that Germany would necessarily be great in this tournament, but I definitely did not expect them to be bottom of the group going into the last round of games. Can Costa Rica play spoilers and also potentially swing themselves into the Round of 16, or will Germany show more of the quality that earned them a draw against Spain and leap into position to advance themselves? Someone will need to grab control of the match for either side to have some joy; who’s willing to step out of anonymity?

Watch the game on FS1, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

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