World Cup 2022 Team Guides, Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

Argentina is the favorite to win this group, so the real narrative is, who comes in second? Mexico and Poland will likely battle for that spot, although Saudi Arabia is no slouch as an opponent.

Robert Lewandowski leads a strong Poland side, while El Tri has the potential to go far in the tournament, especially with a rowdy fan base in tow. Meanwhile, the Saudis have confidence heading into Qatar after winning their Asian qualifying group and tying the United States in a September friendly — can they pull off a group stage upset?

World Cup Group C Preview

World Cup Group C Preview

Alexi Lalas and David Mosse break down Group C of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

ARGENTINA

coach: Lionel Scaloni

Highest finish: Two World Cup titles (1978, 1986)

2018 finish: Round of 16

FOX Bet odds: +550

Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel Di María, Lautaro Martínez

What we’re excited to watch: Messi, of course. He’s already one of the greatest to ever play the game, but can the 35-year-old win a title in what he has already said will be his final World Cup?

What success looks like: Winning the World Cup would further cement Messi’s legacy and get fans off his back in always comparing him to Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup. Perhaps the time has finally come. After all, La Albiceleste has won 35 straight games dating back to 2019, including the 2021 Copa America title with a win over Brazil.

Achilles’ heel: Years and years of heartbreak. Messi has played in five World Cups with uber-talented teammates, and what does Argentina have to show for it? Zero titles. Will this tournament be any different?

The X-Factor: It’s all about Messi and all bets are off when you have the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner on your team.

Three things you need to know about Argentina

Three things you need to know about Argentina

Alexi Lalas breaks down three things you need to know about Argentina ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

SAUDI ARABIA

coach: Herve Renard

Highest finish: Round of 16 (1994)

2018 finish: Group stage

FOX Bet odds: +75000

Key players: Salem Al-Dawsari, Saleh Al Shehri, Salman Al Faraj

What we’re excited to watch: Saudi Arabia is the third-lowest ranked team in this tournament (outside Ghana and Qatar). But, who knows? Maybe the Saudis can pull off an upset in this group with a strong fan base in the stands.

What success looks like: Saudi Arabia scored just two goals in the 2018 World Cup and finished third in its group. It lost to Russia 5-0 in the tournament’s opening match, so making it out of the group this time would be a huge improvement.

Achilles heel: Renard recently called up goalkeepers Mohammad Al-Owais, Fawaz Al-Qarni and Nawaf Al-Aqidi for friendly matches before heading to Qatar, none of whom are regular starters for their clubs. If the Saudis are going to make any kind of noise in the group, they’re going to need a solid choice in the back to stop shots from Messi and Lewandowski.

The X-Factor: Salem Al-Dawsari is the top player to watch. The 31-year-old winger scored seven goals for Saudi Arabia during qualifying and netted a career-high 18 goals for Al-Hilal last season.

Three things you need to know about Saudi Arabia

Three things you need to know about Saudi Arabia

Alexi Lalas gives the three things you need to know about Saudi Arabia ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

MEXICO

coach: Gerardo “Daddy” Martino

Highest finish: Quarterfinal (1970, 1986)

2018 finish: Round of 16

FOX Bet odds: +15000

Key players: Héctor Herrera, Raúl Jiménez, Guillermo Ochoa

What we’re excited to watch: Mexico vs. Poland on Nov. 22, which should be an early indicator of who gets out of the group behind Argentina.

What success looks like: Getting past the round of 16.

Achilles heel: Raúl Jiménez has been dealing with a nagging groin injury — will he be back to full fitness by the time Mexico plays Poland? El Tri will need help from their 6-foot-3 forward to make a run.

The X-Factor: Don’t underestimate the power of fans. There’s a reason Azteca is one of the toughest places to play, and Mexico fans will travel. Can they create a home-field advantage in Qatar?

Three things you need to know about Mexico

Three things you need to know about Mexico

Alexi Lalas gives the three things you need to know about Mexico ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

POLAND

coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz

Highest finish: Third place (1974, 1982)

2018 finish: Group stage

FOX Bet odds: +20000

Key players: Robert Lewandowski, Piotr Zieliński, Kamil Glik

What we’re excited to watch: Lewandowski has scored everywhere he has played, except in a World Cup. As Poland’s all-time leading scorer – 74 goals in 134 caps – he should be able to find the back of the net.

What success looks like: Getting out of the group.

Achilles heel: Wojciech Szczesny, the experienced starting goalkeeper, has been dealing with injuries that have limited his playing time with Juventus.

The X-Factor: Can Lewandowski lead Poland to the knockout round for the first time since 1986?

Three things you need to know about Poland

Three things you need to know about Poland

Alexi Lalas gives the three things you need to know about Poland ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

MORE GROUP PREVIEWS: GROUP A | GROUP B | GROUP D | GROUP E | GROUP F

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.


Get more from FIFA World Cup 2022 Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more



Leave a Reply