FIFA World Cup 2022: Argentina vs. Poland Preview, Prediction, Team news, and Lineups
Argentina and Poland will face off at Stadium 974 on Wednesday with the goal of moving ahead of Poland to win Group C and advance to the round of 16. The two-time world champions are currently tied with Saudi Arabia on three points, trailing Poland by just one point going into their last group match.
Poland vs. Argentina match preview
Robert Lewandowski, who is 34 years old, finally scored his first World Cup goal on Saturday as Poland defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0. It took him five tries. After missing a penalty in the scoreless draw with Mexico, the Barcelona forward earned himself a point for the Eagles eight minutes from time when he took advantage of a mistake by the defense to put the game away. Piotr Zielinski had given the Eagles the lead on the cusp of halftime. Lewandowski claimed during the game that although he had finally “fulfilled his desire” on the largest international stage, he and his colleagues still had work to do as Czeslaw Michniewicz’s squad sought to make it to the World Cup’s round of 16 for the first time since 1986.
Poland has demonstrated its defensive prowess in Qatar by being one of just two countries to have yet to allow a goal after two group games as of this writing. In fact, the Eagles have now won all four of their recent international matches without allowing a goal. Poland, though, may find it difficult to silence Argentina given that they have given up in all 11 of their previous encounters with the two-time world champions. But in their most recent meeting with La Albiceleste, they prevailed 2-1 in a friendly match. Poland’s victory on Wednesday would guarantee them the group’s top spot and a spot in the round of 16, and if Saudi Arabia fails to defeat Mexico, a draw would well be sufficient to finish at the summit. But even if Saudi Arabia gets all the points it can, it will still lose the World Cup.
Four days after their unexpected 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, Argentina improved their chances of moving on to the knockout stages with a critical 2-0 victory over Mexico on Saturday. After a lackluster first half, star player Lionel Messi came through when it counted. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner scored the game’s first goal in the 64th minute with a low drive from outside the penalty area and then set up Enzo Fernandez for the game’s final goal to give Argentina their first three points in Group C. Jubilant celebrations broke out in the locker room after the game, and Lionel Scaloni’s team—one of the pre-tournament favorites to win it all in Qatar—seems to have recovered its confidence going into their final group match against Poland.
In fact, Argentina could use all three points from their match against Poland on Saturday if they want to avoid finishing second in Group C, which could force them into a challenging last-16 matchup with holders France, who defeated La Albiceleste 4-3 in a thrilling matchup at the same stage four years ago. Argentina, which has advanced to the knockout stages in 12 of the previous 13 World Cup finals, has lost its last two encounters with European nations. Both of these matches occurred at the 2018 tournament in Russia, where Argentina lost 3-0 to Croatia in the group stage and then to France in the round of 16. If Argentina wins all three points against Poland and Saudi Arabia fails to defeat Mexico by a margin greater than Scaloni’s team, they will finish first in Group C and advance to the knockout stages. If Saudi Arabia loses, it might be able to advance to second place with a draw.
Poland vs. Argentina Team News
As Poland manager Michniewicz names an unchanged starting lineup against Argentina, Arkadiusz Milik is expected to continue his attacking partnership with Lewandowski. Matty Cash, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, and Bartosz Bereszynski, the back four that started Poland’s first two Group C games, are expected to provide Wojciech Szczesny with some protection. Szczesny saved a first-half penalty in the win over Saudi Arabia. Krystian Bielik, a seven-cap member of Birmingham City, could join Grzegorz Krychowiak in the center of the field, while Zielinski and Przemyslaw Frankowski are expected to play on the wings. Krychowiak, who is four appearances away from earning his 100th international cap, is also expected to play on the wings.
When it comes to Argentina, Scaloni may make changes to his starting eleven once more, with changes in the defense and midfield predicted in particular. Lisandro Martinez and Nicolas Otamendi may keep their positions at center back, but the full-back positions are up for grabs. Juan Foyth, Gonzalo Montiel, and Nahuel Molina are all competing for a spot at right-back, while Nicolas Tagliafico or Marcos Acuna are expected to start at left-back. Leandro Paredes will be vying for a starting spot after being benched against Mexico, but Fernandez, 21, has impressed as a second-half substitute in both of Argentina’s opening two group games, and the 21-year-old might get his first start of the competition in center-midfield. Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria are the two players who are most likely to keep attacking with Messi. Julian Alvarez and Paulo Dybala will both try to make the starting lineup.
Poland’s possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski; Zielinski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski; Milik, Lewandowski
Argentina’s possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Li. Martinez, Tagliafico; Fernandez, Paredes, De Paul; Messi, La. Martinez, Di Maria
Argentina vs. Poland predictions
Both Poland and Argentina will be motivated to win on Wednesday because, should either country finish second in Group C, they would likely face world champion France in the round of 16. However, if Messi and company can gel in the final third, Scaloni’s team should have the ability to defeat their European rivals and take first place. Poland has the capability to pose issues for Argentina, and another upset cannot be ruled out in this match.