How will Group C finish in the 2022 World Cup
Part 3 of a series
With the 2022 World Cup set to begin on Nov. 20, there are teams from each of the eight groups ready to leave their mark on the tournament.
This group leaves plenty of interesting questions to be answered once the first match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia kicks off on Nov. 22.
First Place: Argentina
It would be crazy to not consider Argentina one of the favorites to win the World Cup this year.
Since losing 4-3 to France in the Round of 16 during what was a disastrous 2018 edition, Argentina has had a resurgence in their level of play.
After replacing Jorge Sampaoli with Lionel Scaloni as head coach, the team won the 2021 Copa America, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final. The club also dominated in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
They possess an amazing talent in Emiliano Martinez in the goalkeeping position. He played a key role in helping them win the Copa America last year.
However, this wouldn’t be one of the best squads in Qatar if it weren’t for Lionel Messi. Scoring 10 goals for Argentina this year at the age of 35, Messi hopes to make a deep run to make his last World Cup a memorable one.
As long as Argentina plays together as a team and doesn’t depend on Messi to constantly bail them out, there should be no excuses for them to not top this group and go deep in the tournament.
Second Place: Mexico
Mexico hopes things will finally go their way in terms of going deep in the knockout rounds.
A 2-0 loss to Brazil in 2018 extended their streak of failing to reach the World Cup quarterfinals to seven consecutive tournaments.
Mexico has since made adjustments as they represent themselves as one of North America’s best teams.
Even though they weren’t the best team to qualify from North America (Canada took that title this year), Mexico still succeeded in their qualifiers. El Tri only lost two of their 14 matches, conceding just 8 goals as one of the best defenses in the region.
The offense happens to be more conservative this time around. Mexico only scored 17 goals in the qualifiers, the fewest since their 14 goals during the 1982 cycle.
Mexico’s best chance to advance from this group will be to get at least a win and a draw against Poland and Saudi Arabia. They open play against Poland on Nov. 22. After that, how far they go in the tournament solely depends on their performance as a collective unit.
Third Place: Poland
Poland has a chance to come out of this group. However, this will require getting over the inconsistencies that has plagued them in recent tournaments.
They finished at the bottom of Group H in the 2018 edition and failed to reach the knockouts in Euro 2021.
There was better success for Poland during the qualifiers. After finishing second behind England in their group, they executed in the playoffs against Sweden to punch their ticket.
The heart of this team, especially on offense, is Robert Lewandowski. Scoring 9 goals in the qualifiers as well as dominating in his first season at Barcelona, he will look to carry over those performances and lead his country to great success.
Fourth Place: Saudi Arabia
Unfortunately for Saudi Arabia, they will get the short end of the stick.
Settling for third place in Group A during the 2018 edition, the Saudis continued their success in the Asian qualifiers.
They got the top spot of their qualifying group, finishing above Japan and Australia in the process.
While they could get a draw in either of their matches, they will not be very effective against the superior offenses to have a chance of advancing from this group.