The biggest football event in the world – the 2022 FIFA World Cup – kicked-off in Qatar. The group matches have already started and the intense football action is underway. Group C is composed of some of the big teams in the tournament and some of the best soccer players in the world. Before the big event, here’s a preview of the teams, schedules and players to watch in Group C:
How they qualified: Second-placed (CONMEBOL Qualifiers)
World Cup appearances: 17
Best finish: Champions (1978, 1986)
FIFA Ranking: 3
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Fixtures: Saudi Arabia (November 22), Mexico (November 27), Poland (December 1)
How they qualified: Second-place (CONCACAF Octagonal Standings)
World Cup appearances: 16
Best finish: Last-8 (1970, 1986)
FIFA Ranking: 13
Coach: Tata Martino
Fixtures: Poland (November 23), Argentina (November 27), Saudi Arabia (December 1)
How they qualified: Play-off winners
World Cup appearances: 8
Best finish: Third-place (1974, 1982)
FIFA Ranking: 26
Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz
Fixtures: Mexico (November 23), Saudi Arabia (November 26), Argentina (December 1)
How they qualified: Group B winners (Asian Qualifiers)
World Cup appearances: 5
Best finish: Last-16 (1994)
FIFA Ranking: 44
Coach: Herve Renard
Fixtures: Argentina (November 22), Poland (November 26), Mexico (December 1)
With Leo Messi currently in his best form, Argentina is unstoppable. The two-time World Cup winner emerged as one of the favorites to win the tournament following their dominance in their most recent outings, unbeaten in 35 games and winning the Copa America last year. They also won the Finalissima 2022 trophy and went unbeaten in eight qualifying world soccer matches to top their group.
Losers: Saudi Arabia
Despite their dominant qualifying campaign, the Green Falcons are in between two strong sides that field two of the best football players in the world, plus one dark horse in the competition. It is going to be a tough challenge for Renard’s side. The challenge begins in the opening match as they face Argentina. If they manage to hold the South American champions, they might have a chance in the competition.
Players to watch:
Lionel Messi – Argentina captain Messi is set to play his fifth and last World Cup for Argentina after announcing his national team retirement last month. The 35-year-old Messi has been in excellent form for both his Ligue 1 side and Argentina recently, having provided the most assists of any player in a major European league so far this season and scoring 9 goals in his last three appearances for Argentina.
Robert Lewandowski — The Barcelona playmaker Lewandowski scored a total of 76 goals in his 132 appearances for the national team heading to this event. He will try to make amends on his performance during Poland’s disappointing World Cup campaign in 2018. Facing Messi, who he replaced in Barcelona, in the same group will be his greatest challenge in this competition.
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