Group C preview
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Group C brings together two-time world champions Argentina, a talented Poland team, perennial underachievers Mexico and Saudi Arabia, who are set to receive strong support in neighbouring Qatar. La Albiceleste are not only the favourites for the group, but one of the main title contenders overall, while the team most likely to join them in progression is Mexico, who have reached the round of 16 for the last seven World Cups in succession.
Argentina / Nickname: La Albiceleste / Previous World Cup appearances: 17 / Best World Cup performance: Champions 1978 & 1986 / World Cup record: P81 W43 D15 L23 GF137 GA93.
Mexico / Nickname: EL Tri / Previous World Cup appearances: 16 / Best World Cup performance: Quarterfinals 1970 & 1986 / World Cup record: P57 W16 D14 L27 GF60 GA98.
Saudi Arabia / Nickname: The Green Falcons / Previous World Cup appearances: 5 / Best World Cup performance: Round of 16 1994 / World Cup record: P16 W3 D2 L11 GF11 GA39.
Poland / Nickname: The White and Red or The Eagles / Previous World Cup appearances: 8 / Best World Cup performance: Third Place 1974 & 1982 / World Cup record: P34 W16 D5 L13 GF46 GA45.
Players to watch
Lautaro Martinez – While Lionel Messi remains the central figure for Argentina, he will need the aggression and pace of Martinez to compliment his playmaking abilities.
Hirving Lozano – The aggressive winger is a key figure for Mexico, providing a steady flow of goals and assists. He was a top performer in 2018 and will be hopeful for another outstanding World Cup in 2022.
Salman Al- Faraj – The Saudi Arabian captain is a reliable and renowned midfielder who has played for the same club, Al Hilal in Riyadh, for this entire professional career.
Arkadiusz Milik – While Robert Lewandowski is Poland’s undoubted star, Milik is an outstanding and selfless attacker who does great work both in and out of possession.
Team to watch
Mexico – It wouldn’t feel like a true World Cup if Mexico weren’t present, but El Tri – who did not have the most convincing qualification campaign – will be itching to break their run of seven successive round of 16 exits from the tournament. They have a team with huge experience and nous, but may need some of their younger players to bring a new energy if they are to break their glass ceiling.
“We have to be fair in our analysis and we need to resolve any issues within the next 30 days,” said Mexico coach Gerardo Martino. “When mistakes were made in the past, the policy was to stay away from younger talent and mistakes were made years ago. Now we end up listening to the people who made those mistakes, talking about [the] game.”
Tuesday 22 November
12:00: Argentina v Saudi Arabia
18:00: Mexico v Poland
Saturday 26 November
15:00: Poland v Saudi Arabia
21:00: Argentina v Mexico
Wednesday 30 November
21:00: Poland v Argentina
21:00: Saudi Arabia v Mexico
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