PREVIEW: FIFA World Cup – Poland v Argentina and Saudi Arabia v Mexico

Argentina captain and superstar Lionel Messi

It’s the last round of the FIFA World Cup group stages as teams battle it out to make the cut in the round of 16. 

Group C is extremely fascinating as it is looking tight and we might see some surprises as any of the four teams still have the chance to qualify for the next round.

Poland, who currently occupy the first spot, will be up against Lionel Messi’s Argentina while Saudi Arabia will take on Mexico. Both matches kick-off at 21:00 in SA time.


The group leaders, Poland, have four points in the bag while second-placed Argentina have collected three points. 

Led by their captain, Robert Lewandowski, one of the deadliest strikers in the world, Poland will be looking for at least a point in order to book a spot in the next round. 

However, they won’t sit back because that would mean they are inviting pressure from La Albiceleste who will go all out for a win in order to be on the safe side.

The White-Reds might focus on man-marking Messi as other opponents usually do, but there is a good and a bad side to that. On the positive side, when the Paris Saint-Germain star is contained, Argentina finds it hard to function. On the negative side, when the focus is on Messi, there are other individuals like Di Maria who can show up and hurt the opponents.

In their previous two matches, Poland started a bit slow but gained confidence later which speaks of the resistance they have.

Meanwhile, Argentina had a tough opener against Saudi Arabia, particularly in the second half where they conceded two goals in a space of five minutes. They then found it difficult to fight back and eventually lost to the underdogs. In their second match against Mexico, they managed to secure a victory despite the pressure.

A win will guarantee them a place in the next round while with a draw, they would have to hope that Saudi Arabia don’t win and if Mexico win, that they don’t do that with at least a four-goal margin. 


Saudi Arabia are currently in the third position with three points while Mexico are rooted in fourth place.

Killing the giants Argentina in their first match, attracted eyes on Hervé Renard’s men but they then dropped the ball in their following match, losing 2-0 to Poland. 

However they’re eyeing the ticket to the last 16 and have three points which gives them more reason to fight for a positive results against the El Tri. A draw for Saudi Arabia will mean that they will have to hope that Poland beat Argentina while a win will guarantee them a go-through to the next round.

On the other hand, Mexico haven’t been too bad in terms of performance but have failed to accumulate enough points to put themselves in a good position. 

They will hope that either Poland or Argentina win while they beat Saudi Arabia with a big margin that would give them a superior goal difference over whoever lost in the other game in order to take the second position.

Gerardo Martino’s men can also go through if Argentina and Poland draw while they beat Saudi Arabia with at least four goals and be superior on goal difference over Argentina.

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Argentina captain and superstar Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi celebrating after scoring against Mexico in the FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar. Photo courtesy of Reuters