The top spot of Group C is at stake as Poland and Argentina will also battle it out on the pitch for it in an effort to reserve their last-16 spot. Spectators are expected to fill Stadium 974 up to witness this nerve-wracking fixture in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar on Thursday, December 01. As things stand, Poland are leading Group C with four points, while Argentina are second with three. Looking over their shoulders, both sides will find Saudi Arabia also contesting for a spot in the knockout round.
Two games in, Poland are yet to lose a match. The opener ended in a tightly contested goalless draw with Mexico before the White Eagles registered their first win of the campaign over Saudi Arabia after a convincing 2-0 victory. With an unbeaten streak and two back-to-back clean sheets, Poland will be eyeing their first qualification for the Round of 16 since 1986. Ever since then, the White Eagles have either failed to qualify for the tournament or have exited it in the group stage.
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Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022 Points Table
FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski saw his penalty saved against Guillermo Ochoa in Poland’s opening game against Mexico. The White Eagles were unable to score but at the same time, their defense kept the Mexicans at bay. The defensive duo of Kamil Glik and Jakub Kiwior were solid at the back and are expected to start in defense against Argentina. Midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak was solid in midfield behind Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski. After failing to get off the mark from the spot against Mexico, Lewandowski scored one and assisted the other for Poland against Saudi in the second match.
Poland find themselves in a fortunate position at the top as they only need a draw to go through to the next round. However, the White Eagles are expected to be firing on all cylinders against Argentina. But La Albiceleste will be a tough nut to crack. Poland can also advance if they lose this game but only if Saudi Arabia lose or draw against Mexico and Poland avoid losing by a margin of three or more goals.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s recent outings against European sides in the World Cup have not been kind to them. La Albiceleste faced Croatia and France in 2018. They lost 3-0 against the Vatreni before going down 4-3 against Les Bleus. Coach Lionel Scaloni will be eager to end this unwanted drought by bagging what could be an extremely vital win. The two-time champions suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Saudi in their opening fixture. To rectify the horrendous error, tactical tweaks were made by Scaloni and La Ablbiceleste were able to nab a 2-0 win over Mexico in the second game.
Skipper Lionel Messi scored one and assisted the other on that evening. Argentina will be heavily reliant on their skipper in the final group stage match. Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez was also included in the side that defeated and kept a clean sheet against Mexico. He is expected to retain his spot alongside former Manchester City centre-back Nicolas Otamendi.
Team News: No injury concerns for either side as both coaches are expected to field the same eleven that earned their sides' victories in their respective games.
Form Guide: (Last five matches, most recent first)
Poland: W - D - W - W - L
Argentina: W - L - W - W - W
Games Played: 11
Poland Wins: 3
Argentina Wins: 6
Betting Odds: (Bet365)
Poland Possible Starting 11 (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski; Zielinski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski; Milik, Lewandowski.
Argentina Possible Starting 11 (4-3-2-1): Emiliano Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Tagliafico; Fernandez, Paredes, De Paul; Di Maria, Messi, Lautaro Martinez.
Poland 1 - 2 Argentina
Where to watch and match timing:
The match will kick off at 12:30 AM IST on Thursday, December 01, and will be beamed live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. Fans can also stream the action online on JioCinema’s official website.
(Edited by : Prakhar Sachdeo)
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