If Argentina beats Poland on Wednesday at Stadium 974, they will move to the top of Group C and get a bye to the Round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The two-time world champions are tied for third place in Group A with Saudi Arabia on three points, one point behind first-place Poland with one game to go.
Poland vs Argentina Group C Match Preview
When Poland beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 on Saturday, 34-year-old Robert Lewandowski scored his first World Cup goal.
In the 0-0 tie with Mexico, the Barcelona striker missed a penalty but made up for it eight minutes later. Following Piotr Zielinski’s goal just before halftime, he took advantage of a defensive error to score the game-winning goal for the Eagles.
When asked about his experience, Lewandowski remarked, “I realized my aim of play on the biggest stage.” To make it to the 2022 Fifa World Cup quarterfinals for the inaugural time since 1986, Czeslaw Michniewicz’s team still has some work to do.
Poland’s defensive prowess has been on full display in Qatar, as they are one of only two teams in their group without a goal conceded after two games. The Eagles have won their previous four international matches without allowing a goal.
It will be difficult for Poland to keep Argentina quiet, as they have allowed goals in their 11 previous matches against the two-time world winners. Yet, in their most recent meeting against La Albiceleste in 2011, they came out on top with a 2-1 victory in a friendly.
If Poland wins Wednesday, they will finish atop Group C and go to the round of 16. If Saudi Arabia loses against Mexico, a draw would also be good enough for first place. If Saudi Arabia wins the match 3-0, their World Cup hopes will be dashed.
Poland vs Argentina Group C Team News
Michniewicz, Poland’s manager, is anticipated to start with the same lineup he used against Ukraine, with Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski remaining in the attacking duo.
Matty Cash, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, and Bartosz Bereszynski, who all started Poland’s first two Group C matches, will likely be in goal to protect Wojciech Szczesny. They saved a penalty in the first half of their triumph against Saudi Arabia.
Krystian Bielik, who has seven caps for Birmingham City, might partner Grzegorz Krychowiak in the middle of the field. At the same time, Zielinski and Przemyslaw Frankowski are expected to play on the wings. Krychowiak is just four appearances away from earning his 100th international cap.
Head coach Scaloni may make further lineup adjustments for Argentina, most notably in the back line and the middle of the field.
Nicolas Otamendi and Lisandro Martinez could keep their starting positions in the middle of the defense. The right and left back starting positions are up for grabs, with Gonzalo Montiel, Nahuel Molina, and Juan Foyth all vying for a spot. Either Nicolas Tagliafico or Marcos Acuna is likely to be selected.
The 21-year-old Fernandez has impressed as a second-half replacement in both of Argentina’s group games, and he might get his first tournament start in central midfield. Leandro Paredes, benched for the match against Mexico, will also be battling for a starting spot.
The two most probable contenders to stay in attack with Messi are Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria. At the same time, Julian Alvarez and Paulo Dybala will aim to get into the starting XI.
- Poland Possible Starting Lineup Option: Szczesny, Glik, Kiwior, Cash, Zielinski, Krychowiak, Bereszynski, Frankowski, Bielik, Milik, Lewandowski.
- Argentina Possible Starting Lineup Option: E. Martinez, Otamendi, Li. Martinez, Molina, Fernandez, Paredes, De Paul, Tagliafico, Messi, La. Martinez, Di Maria.
Poland vs Argentina Group C Prediction (1-2)
Poland and Argentina will both be motivated to win on Wednesday since finishing second in Group C mean they will likely face world champions France in the round of 16.
There is a chance that Poland may surprise Argentina here, and they certainly can do it. However, if Messi and company find their scoring touch, Scaloni’s side should have enough to beat off their European rivals and claim first place.