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2022 World Cup Group C preview, teams, odds, more: Last call for Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski

Lionel Messi World Cup Group C preview
FILE – Argentina’s player Lionel Messi celebrates his goal during the second half of an international friendly soccer match against Jamaica on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

Two of this generation’s soccer icons will get one final chance to prove themselves on the World Cup stage in Group C as Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Poland’s Robert Lewandowski do battle in Qatar.

2022 World Cup Group C preview

Argentina

Lionel Messi
(AP Photo/David Vincent, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 3rd
  • Qualification: 2nd place in CONMEBOL qualifying
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 17
  • Best finish: Champions (1978, 1986)
  • Odds to win group: -250
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -1600
  • Odds to win World Cup: +500

One of the favorites to win it all, Argentina’s patient midfield play headlines an attractive brand of soccer that is flush with premier talent — especially up front with Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Lautaro Martinez. This is Messi’s last chance to get Argentina to the mountaintop and further cement himself as one of the greatest of all time and the greatest Argentinian soccer player ever. If not, Diego Maradona will always have the World Cup trophy over the PSG talisman.

X-Factor: Lionel Messi This will always be the obvious choice as long as Messi suits up for La Albiceleste. The talisman of a nation, a player who we’ll be talking about for decades after he’s hung up his boots, he’ll need to be the Messi we’ve always known. But he has a lot more help in 2022 compared to World Cups past. 

Argentina World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez Aston Villa
Goalkeeper Franco Armani River Plate
Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli Villarreal
Defender Marcos Acuna Sevilla
Defender Juan Foyth Villarreal
Defender Lisandro Martinez Manchester United
Defender Nicolas Tagliafico Lyon
Defender Cristian Romero Tottenham
Defender Nicolas Otamendi Benfica
Defender Nahuel Molina Atletico Madrid
Defender Gonzalo Montiel Sevilla
Defender German Pezzella Real Betis
Midfielder Angel Di Maria Juventus
Midfielder Leandro Paredes Juventus
Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul Atletico Madrid
Midfielder Alexis Mac Allister Brighton
Midfielder Enzo Fernandez Benfica
Midfielder Exequiel Palacios Bayer Leverkusen
Midfielder Guido Rodriguez Real Betis
Forward Lionel Messi PSG
Forward Lautaro Martinez Inter Milan
Forward Paulo Dybala Roma
Forward Joaquin Correa Inter Milan
Forward Julian Alvarez Manchester City
Forward Nicolas Gonzalez Fiorentina
Forward Alejandro Gomez Sevilla

 

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 U.S. won 2-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 13th
  • Qualification: 2nd place in CONCACAF qualifiers
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 16
  • Best finish: Quarterfinals (1970, 1986)
  • Odds to win group: +450
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -120
  • Odds to win World Cup: +13000

Will the Round of 16 curse continue for El Tri? They’ve been knocked out at the World Cup at that stage in each of the last seven tournaments. This is a tamer version of Mexico, who has sacrificed an expressive style of play for a more methodical approach. It’s resulted in some major question marks entering the tournament considering recent difficulties 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 for Mexico’s attacking hopes down the wing of the midfield. He’s quick on the ball and awfully tough to dispossess.

Mexico World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota Leon
Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa Club America
Goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera Juarez
Defender Kevin Alvarez Pachukca
Defender Nestor Araujo Club America
Defender Gerardo Arteaga Genk
Defender Jesus Gallardo Monterrey
Defender Cesar Montes Monterrey
Defender Hector Moreno Monterrey
Defender Jorge Sanchez Ajax
Defender Johan Vasquez Cremonese
Defender Edson Alvarez Ajax
Midfielder Luis Chavez Pachuca
Midfielder Andres Guardado Real Betis
Midfielder Erick Gutierrez PSV
Midfielder Hector Herrera Houston Dynamo
Midfielder Carlos Rodriguez Cruz Azul
Midfielder Luis Romo Monterrey
Forward Orbelin Pineda AEK Athens
Forward Roberto Alvarado Chivas
Forward Uriel Antuna Cruz Azul
Forward Rogelio Funes Mori Monterrey
Forward Raul Jimenez Wolverhampton
Forward Hirving Lozano Napoli
Forward Henry Martin Club America
Forward Alexis Vega Chivas

 

Poland

Robert Lewandowski
FILE – Poland’s Robert Lewandowski controls the ball during the World Cup 2022 group I qualifying soccer match between Poland and England, at the Narodowy stadium in Warsaw, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. Poland captain Robert Lewandowski will shoulder his country’s World Cup hopes as the star name in coach Czesław Michniewicz’ 26-player squad for the tournament in Qatar. Michniewicz, formerly coach of Poland’s under-21s then Legia Warsaw, named his team on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 26th
  • Qualification: Defeated Sweden in UEFA play-off
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 7
  • Best finish: 3rd place (1974, 1982)
  • Odds to win group: +400
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -110
  • Odds to win World Cup: +15000

Despite having one of the country’s greatest players ever within their ranks in Robert Lewandowski, Poland has been remarkably mediocre. They didn’t qualify for the World Cup in 2010 or 2014 before getting bounced out of the group stage in 2018. The hope for the White and Red in 2022 is a strong attacking front lives up to expectations.

X-Factor: Robert Lewandowski Lewandowski has never been able to replicate the club success he’s had with Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, or Barcelona on the big stage for 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 Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny Juventus
Goalkeeper Łukasz Skorupski Bologna
Goalkeeper Bartłomiej Dragowski Spezia
Defender Kamil Glik Benevento
Defender Bartosz Bereszyński Sampdoria
Defender Jan Bednarek Aston Villa
Defender Matty Cash Aston Villa
Defender Robert Gumny Augsburg
Defender Artur Jędrzejcyk Legia Warsaw
Defender Jakub Kiwior Spezia
Defender Mateusz Wieteska Clermont
Defender Nicola Zalewski Roma
Midfielder Piotr Zieliński Napoli
Midfielder Kamil Grosicki Pogoń Szczecin
Midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak Al-Shabab Riyadh
Midfielder Damian Szymański AEK Athens
Midfielder Sebastian Szymański Feyenoord
Midfielder Przemysław Frankowski RC Lens
Midfielder Krystian Bielik Birmingham City
Midfielder Jakub Kamiński Wolfsburg
Midfielder Michal Skoras Lech Poznan
Midfielder Szymon Żurkowski Fiorentina
Forward Robert Lewandowski Barcelona
Forward Arkadiusz Milik Juventus
Forward Krzysztof Piatek Salernitana
Forward Karol Świderski Charlotte FC

 

Saudi Arabia

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

A team that likes to push, the Green Falcons are going to stack the midfield in hopes of providing some attacking promise to a team that will likely spend the group stage on the back foot. That doesn’t mean one should take Saudi Arabia lightly, but a roster that entirely plays its domestic soccer in the country lacks international experience against the world’s best.

X-Factor: Salem Al-Dawsari The Saudi winger did spend some time with Spain’s Villarreal, which is as much experience outside the country as the squad can boast. He will be their most inventive player down the right wing.

Saudi Arabia World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Owais Al-Hilal
Goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi Al-Nassr
Goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Yami Al-Ahly
Defender Yasser Al-Shahrani Al-Hilal
Defender Ali Al-Bulaihi Al-Hilal
Defender Abdulelah Al-Amri Al-Nassr
Defender Abdullah Madu Al-Nassr
Defender Hassan Tambakti Al-Shabab
Defender Sultan Al-Ghanam Al-Nassr
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-Nassr
Midfielder Mohamed Kanno Al-Hilal
Midfielder Abdulelah Al-Malki Al-Hilal
Midfielder Sami Al-Najel Al-Nassr
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 courtesy of DraftKings

 

2022 World Cup Group C schedule

Date Match Time TV
Tuesday, Nov. 22 Argentina v. Saudi Arabia 5 AM FS1
Tuesday, Nov. 22 Mexico v. Poland 11 AM FOX
Saturday, Nov. 26 Poland v. Saudi Arabia 8 AM FS1
Saturday, Nov. 26 Argentina v. Mexico 2 PM FOX
Wednesday, Nov. 30 Saudi Arabia v. Mexico 2 PM FS1
Wednesday, Nov. 30 Poland v. Argentina 2 PM FOX

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

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