2022 World Cup: Group C preview, teams, odds, more

Two of this generation’s footballing icons will have one last chance to prove themselves on the World Cup stage in Group C as Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Poland’s Robert Lewandowski face off in Qatar.

2022 World Cup Group C preview

Argentina

Lionel Messi
(AP Photo/David Vincent, File)
  • FIFA Ranking: 3rd
  • Qualification: 2nd place in CONMEBOL qualifiers
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 17
  • Best finish: Champions (1978, 1986)
  • Odds of winning the group: -250
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: -1600
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +500

One of the favorites to win it all, Argentina’s patient midfielder heads an enticing brand of football that is brimming with top talent, especially ahead of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez. This is Messi’s last chance to take Argentina to the top of the mountain and establish himself as one of the greatest of all time and the greatest Argentine football player of all time. Otherwise, Diego Maradona will always have the World Cup trophy on the PSG talisman.

X Factor: Lionel Messi It will always be the obvious choice as long as Messi adapts to the Albiceleste. A nation’s talisman, a player we’ll be talking about for decades after hanging up his boots, he’ll have to be the Messi we’ve always known. But he has a lot more help in 2022 compared to past World Cups.

Argentina World Cup lineup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez AstonVilla
Goalkeeper Francois Armani River Plate
Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli Villarreal
Defender Marcos Acuna Seville
Defender John Foyth Villarreal
Defender Lisandro Martinez Manchester United
Defender Nicholas Tagliafico Lyons
Defender Christian Romero Tottenham
Defender Nicolas Otamendi Benfica
Defender Nahuel Molina Atlético Madrid
Defender Gonzalo Montiel Seville
Defender German Pezzella Real Betis
Midfielder Angel Di Maria Juventus
Midfielder Leandro Paredes Juventus
Midfielder Rodrigo de Paul Atlético Madrid
Midfielder Alexis MacAllister Brighton
Midfielder Enzo Fernandez Benfica
Midfielder Exequiel Palacios Bayer Leverkusen
Midfielder Guido Rodriguez Real Betis
Forward Lionel Messi PSG
Forward Lautaro Martinez InterMilan
Forward Paulo Dybala Rome
Forward Joaquin Correa InterMilan
Forward Julian Alvarez Manchester City
Forward Nicholas González Fiorentina
Forward Alexander Gomez Seville

Mexico

Mexico World Cup Hector Herrera
FILE – Mexico’s Hector Herrera controls the ball during the second half of a FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match between Mexico and the United States, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Cincinnati. The United States won 2-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
  • FIFA Ranking: 13th
  • Qualification: 2nd place in CONCACAF Qualifiers
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 16
  • Best finish: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)
  • Odds of winning the group: +450
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: -120
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +13000

Will the curse of the Round of 16 continue for El Tri? They have been eliminated at the World Cup at this stage in each of the last seven tournaments. He’s a tamer version of Mexico, who sacrificed an expressive style of play for a more methodical approach. This led to major question marks entering the tournament given recent difficulties in finding the back of the net.

X factor: Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano An experienced midfielder plying his trade in Italy’s Serie A for Napoli, Lozano will be invaluable to Mexico’s attacking prospects on the midfield wing. He is quick on the ball and terribly difficult to dispossess.

Poland

Robert Lewandowski
FILE – Robert Lewandowski of Poland controls the ball during the World Cup 2022 Group I Qualifying match between Poland and England at Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Poland captain Robert Lewandowski will assume the his country’s World Cup hopes as the star name in coach Czesław Michniewicz’s 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar. Michniewicz, former Poland Under-21 and then Legia Warsaw coach, named his squad on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
  • FIFA Ranking: 26
  • Qualification: Defeated Sweden in the UEFA play-off
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: seven
  • Best finish: 3 place (1974, 1982)
  • Odds of winning the group: +400
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: -110
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +15000

Despite having one of the country’s greatest players in their ranks, Robert Lewandowski, Poland have been remarkably mediocre. They didn’t qualify for the World Cup in 2010 or 2014 before being knocked out of the group stage in 2018. The hope for the Whites and Reds in 2022 is a solid attacking front that lives up to expectations.

X factor: Robert Lewandowski Lewandowski has never been able to replicate the club success he had with Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich or Barcelona on the big stage in Poland. But he has one more chance to do so in Qatar to prove that his country should be taken seriously on the world stage.

Poland World Cup lineup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny Juventus
Goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski bologna
Goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski Spezia
Defender Kamil Glik Benevento
Defender Bartosz Bereszynski Sampdoria
Defender Jean Bednarek AstonVilla
Defender Matty Cash AstonVilla
Defender Robert Gummy Augsburg
Defender Artur Jedrzejcyk Legia Warsaw
Defender Jakub Kiwior Spezia
Defender Mateusz Wieteska Clermont
Defender Nicholas Zalewski Rome
Midfielder Piotr Zielinski Naples
Midfielder Kamil Grosicki Pogon Szczecin
Midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak Al Shabab Riyadh
Midfielder Damian Szymansky AEK Athens
Midfielder Sebastian Szymanski Feyenoord
Midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski RC Lens
Midfielder Krystian Bielik City of Birmingham
Midfielder Jakub Kaminski Wolfsburg
Midfielder Michal Skoras Lech Poznan
Midfielder Szymon Surkowski Fiorentina
Forward Robert Lewandowski Barcelona
Forward Arkadiusz Milik Juventus
Forward Krzysztof Piatek Salerno
Forward Karol Swiderski Charlotte F.C.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
FILE – Saudi Arabia’s Nawaf Shaker Al Abed, left, battles for the ball with Segino Dest of the United States during the international friendly soccer match between Saudi Arabia and the United States in Murcia, Spain, on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. (AP Photo/ José Breton, File)
  • FIFA Ranking: 51st
  • Qualification: AFC Playoff Group B winners
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 5
  • Best finish: Round of 16 (1994)
  • Odds of winning the group: +2200
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: +600
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +80000

A team that likes to push, the Green Falcons will stack the midfield in hopes of providing attacking promise to a team that is likely to pass the group stage on the back foot. That’s not to say Saudi Arabia should be taken lightly, but a team that plays its national football entirely in the country lacks international experience against the best in the world.

X factor: Salem Al-Dawsari The Saudi winger has spent time with Spaniard Villarreal, who is as much experience outside the country as the team can boast. He will be their most inventive player on the right wing.

Saudi Arabia World Cup lineup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Owais Al Hilal
Goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi Al Nasr
Goalkeeper Mohamed Al Yami Al Ahly
Defender Yasser Al-Shahrani Al Hilal
Defender Ali Al-Bulaihi Al Hilal
Defender Abdullah Al-Amri Al Nasr
Defender Abdullah Madu Al Nasr
Defender Hassan Tambakti Al Shabab
Defender Sultan Al-Ghanam Al Nasr
Defender Mohammed Al Breik Al Hilal
Defender Saud Abdulhamid Al Hilal
Midfielder Salman Al-Farag Al Hilal
Midfielder Riyadh Sharahili Abha
Midfielder Ali Al Hassan Al Nasr
Midfielder Mohammad Kanno Al Hilal
Midfielder Abdullah Al-Malki Al Hilal
Midfielder Sami Al Najel Al Nasr
Midfielder Abdullah Otayf Al Hilal
Midfielder Nasser Al-Dawsari Al Hilal
Midfielder Abdulrahman Al-Aboud Ittihad
Midfielder Salem Al-Dawsari Al Hilal
Midfielder Hattan Bahebri Al Shabab
Forward Fahad Al-Muwallad Al Shabab
Forward Haitham Asiri Al Ahly
Forward Saleh Al Shehri Al Hilal
Forward Firas Al-Burakan Al Fateh

*Odds are courtesy of DraftKings

2022 World Cup Group C schedule

Date Match Time TV
Tuesday, November 22 Argentina v. Saudi Arabia 5am FS1
Tuesday, November 22 Mexico v. Poland 11am FOX
Saturday November 26 Poland v. Saudi Arabia 8 a.m. FS1
Saturday November 26 Argentina v. Mexico 2 p.m. FOX
Wednesday, November 30 Saudi Arabia v. Mexico 2 p.m. FS1
Wednesday, November 30 Poland v. Argentina 2 p.m. FOX

For more on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, visit AMNY.com

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