GAME PREVIEW (via AP)
As Poland’s all-time top scorer, Robert Lewandowski is missing something in his collection: a goal at the World Cup.
That could change on Tuesday against Mexico, Poland’s opening Group C opponents.
Lewandowski is a prolific goalscorer who joined Barcelona after a successful spell at Bayern Munich. He has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season. He has scored 76 goals in 134 appearances for Poland.
At 34, the World Cup in Qatar could be Lewandowski’s last chance for a coveted goal in football’s biggest event.
Poland scored just two goals from Jan Bednarek and Grzegorz Krychowiak in Russia four years ago, and the side were eliminated from the group stage after losing to Senegal and Colombia.
Poland, ranked No. 26 in the world, didn’t even make it to the 2010 or 2014 World Cups, and the team haven’t made it to the knockout stage since 1986. Poland’s best finish was third place in West Germany 1974 and Spain 1974 1982.
Lewandowski scored in March’s 2-0 playoff win over Sweden to earn Poland a place at the World Cup. He finished the qualifying campaign with nine goals.
Poland clinched a 1-0 win over Chile last week in a final warm-up before their opener against No. 13 Mexico at Stadion 974. While third-placed Argentina are favorites to win Group C, which also includes Saudi Arabia, Tuesday’s game could be a good indication of the second team progressing to the knockout rounds.
“This is an important game for us. It’s important that we show confidence. We know Mexico plays top-class football, we know its potential. We will fight for victory and do our best,” said Lewandowski in Doha last week. “They have a lot of quality and speed and are dynamic. We have to be ready to stop them from causing us problems.”
Mexico has been plagued by uncertainty and injuries. Coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino included Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Raul Jimenez, who was plagued by a groin injury but came on as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat by Sweden last week. It was his first game since August.
“I look forward to Raúl’s ambition, hunger and desire to play, to be on the pitch, to contribute and to help the team,” said veteran Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, contradicting critics who dismissed Jimenez from the team would have left.
Although there were hopes that Sevilla forward Jesus Corona could recover from a broken fibula ahead of the World Cup, he was ultimately dropped from Mexico’s final squad.
But there were a few other notable absences. Martino left young forward Santi Gimenez, who plays for Dutch team Feyenoord, as well as Mexico’s all-time top scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who has not played for his national team since 2019. Hernandez, who currently plays for LA Galaxy, had played in the last three World Cups.
Martino has been criticized for both the team’s recent results and his squad choices.
“The only thing that can change people’s minds are the results and that’s what we will play for,” he said after the defeat by Sweden.
Mexico finished second in CONCACAF qualifying behind Canada – and ahead of the United States – but Martino’s side have scored just four goals in their last five qualifiers despite both Jiménez and Corona being available. El Tri went without a win against Canada and the United States in the finals.
Four years ago, Mexico lost 2-0 to Brazil in the round of 16 in Russia, missing out on the quarter-finals of football’s premier tournament for the seventh year in a row. The failure to advance to the “quinto partido,” or fifth game, has left El Tri stubborn.
Mexico has only reached the quarterfinals twice, first in 1970 and again in 1986. Mexico hosted both of those tournaments.
Ochoa, Vasquez, Sanchez, Montes, C Rodriguez, Arteaga, E Alvarez, Herrera, Lozano, Jimenez, Vega
Sczcesny, Glik, Bednarek, Kiwior, Cash, S. Szymansky, Bielik, Zalewski, Zielinski, Lewandowski, Swiderski
WHEN AND WHERE TO SEE
Mexico vs Poland: Kick-off, live broadcast and live streaming info
Where will the World Cup match between Mexico and Poland be kicked off?
The match between Mexico and Poland will be kicked off at Stadium 974 in Doha.
When will the World Cup match between Mexico and Poland kick off?
Mexico vs. Poland game kicks off on November 22, 2022 at 21:30 IST.
Where to watch Mexico vs Poland game in India?
The World Cup match between Mexico and Poland will be broadcast live sports18 and Sports18 HD. The 2022 World Cup will be streamed live on Android and iOS JioCinema.