In their World Cup Group C matchup in Qatar, Argentina and Poland have two of the finest forwards in the world, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
In his last World Cup participation, Messi will go to the Middle East in search of a team trophy to add to his already impressive personal collection, which includes a record-setting seven FIFA Ballon d’Or medals.
Even though Argentina and Poland both have good chances of advancing to the tournament’s knockout stage. They will face each other in the final group game on November 30.
This is by no means an accessible pool to navigate, as Mexico is likely to present a formidable challenge after breezing through North American (CONCACAF) qualifying. One of the weaker teams in the competition, Saudi Arabia, will be hoping to shock the favorites.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Group C Match Schedule
Four teams will compete in a round-robin style, with each country playing the other three. Scores from the first three games of the group stage will determine the final standings, with three points awarded for a victory, one point for a tie, and no points awarded for a defeat.
Each group’s top two teams in terms of points will progress to the elimination round. In a tie in the standings, goal differential will be the primary deciding factor. Additional criteria for breaking a tie would be used if the teams were also deadlocked.
|Tues, November 22||Argentina vs. S. Arabia||05:00 A.M.||Lusail Stadium|
|Tues, November 22||Mexico vs. Poland||11:00 A.M.||Stadium 974|
|Sat, November 26||Poland vs. S. Arabia||08:00 A.M.||Education City Stadium|
|Sat, November 26||Argentina vs. Mexico||02:00 P.M.||Lusail Stadium|
|Wed, November 30||Poland vs. Argentina||02:00 P.M.||Stadium 974|
|Wed, November 30||S. Arabia vs. Mexico||02:00 P.M.||Lusail Stadium|
Brief Team Review: Argentina
Argentina, one of the tournament’s traditional powerhouses, may return to its former status as a significant force to be reckoned with in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Still, this tournament will serve as the last hurrah for one of the game’s all-time greats.
Now 35 years old, Lionel Messi said he would not return to the World Cup after playing in Qatar. This will be his last opportunity to win the tournament and finish a brilliant career.
He’ll be the star for the Copa America champion South Americans in the Middle East. After defeating arch-rivals Brazil last year. However, there is plenty of other talents in Lionel Scaloni’s side, not least Angel Di Maria, who scored the crucial goal in that Copa final victory.
- Current FIFA World Ranking: No. 3 (November 2022)
- Regional Ranking: 2nd (CONMEBOL)
- World Cup Titles: 02
- World Cup Appearances (Last): 17 (Russia 2018)
- How Qualified They Are: CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification runners-up: 11W-0L-6D
- Team Coach: Lionel Scaloni (Argentina) since August 2018
- Key Players: Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain / France), Angel Di Maria (Juventus / Italy), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid / Spain)
Brief Team Review: Saudi Arabia
It’s hard to see Saudi Arabia doing much better than their previous four World Cup exits, all of which came in the group stages.
Herve Renard’s squad should be commended for qualifying ahead of Australia, but they may struggle mightily when up against more formidable opponents.
In the Saudi Arabian team, everyone plays professionally in their native country. Yet, they have a coach in Renard who has managed national teams in Morocco, Ivory Coast, Zambia (twice), and Angola.
Renard will be hoping beyond hope that striker Saleh Al Shehri can return to total health to lead Saudi Arabia this time after he scored four goals in the qualifications, and Saudi Arabia only managed two at Russia in 2018.
- Current FIFA World Ranking: No. 51 (November 2022).
- Regional Ranking: 6th (AFC).
- World Cup Titles: None.
- World Cup Appearances (Last): 6 (Russia 2018).
- How Qualified They Are: AFC Third Round Group B runners-up 7W-1L-2D).
- Team Coach: Herve Renard (France) since July 2019.
- Key Players: Saleh Al Shehri (Al Hilal / Saudi Arabia), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal / Saudi Arabia), Salman Al Faraj (Al Hilal / Saudi Arabia).
Brief Team Review: Mexico
For the 23rd time in a row, Mexico qualified for the World Cup by finishing second in CONCACAF, behind Canada only in terms of goal differential.
The bulk of El Tri’s roster consists of international stars who regularly perform throughout Europe and North America. Raul Jimenez, a striker for the Wolves, and Hector Herrera, a veteran of the Houston Dynamo, will be counted on heavily to help push the effort. However, losing Jesus “Tecatito” Corona due to injury is a significant setback.
Mexico averaged just over one goal per game scored in their qualifying attempt. The team is banking on Gerardo Martino, a shrewd former coach of Barcelona, and his tight game plan to be enough to restrict opponents in the group stage.
- Current FIFA World Ranking: No. 13 (November 2022).
- Regional Ranking: 1st (CONCACAF).
- World Cup Titles: None.
- World Cup Appearances (Last): 16 (Brazil 2018).
- How Qualified They Are: (CONCACAF qualifying runners-up: 7W-2L-4D.
- Team Coach: Gerardo Martino (Argentina) since January 2019.
- Key Players: Raul Jimenez (Wolves / England), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo / USA), Hirving Lozano (Napoli / Italy).
Brief Team Review: Poland
With a 2-0 victory against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden in a battle of the talismans, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski sealed a playoff berth for the Eastern Europeans. After their first opponent, Russia, was banned by FIFA for their invasion of Ukraine, Poland was granted a bye to the championship game.
Except for their 34-year-old striker at Barcelona, Poland’s squad is full of seasoned players that play in their respective national leagues throughout Europe. Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski, a midfielder, could provide opportunities for Lewandoski to add to his impressive number of goals scored for Poland.
The team coached by Czeslaw Michniewicz boasts two third-place finishes at the World Cup and will enter the tournament with high hopes after just two defeats in qualifying.
- Current FIFA World Ranking: No. 26 (November 2022).
- Regional Ranking: 15th (UEFA).
- World Cup Titles: None.
- World Cup Appearances (Last): 8 (Russia 2018).
- How Qualified They Are: UEFA playoff winners: (2-0 vs. Sweden).
- Team Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz (Poland) since January 2022.
- Star Players: Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona / Spain), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli / Italy), Matty Cash (Aston Villa / England).