Jakarta (ANTARA) – Ranked third in the world, two-time World Cup champions and bolstered by the team that won the 2021 Copa America, Argentina can on paper win Group C which also includes Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.
Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia have to do a lot to face an Argentine team whose strength is evenly distributed on all fronts.
Mexico, who have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup twice and qualified for Qatar 2022 as finalist the North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) zone will likely be Group C.
However, it could also be Poland who accompanied Argentina to the round of 16, having reached third place twice in the 1974 and 1982 World Cups.
Lower-seeded Saudi Arabia, who reached the round of 16 at the 1994 World Cup, will have a hard time beating all three teams on paper.
However, nothing is impossible in football, especially when the Saudis play in the desert climate they know well.
Here is a profile of the four teams in Group C taken from various sources, including the AFP news agency.
Best World Cup results: Winner of the 1978 and 1986 editions.
Best achievements in other tournaments: 15-time Copa America winner, 1992 Confederations Cup winner and gold medalist at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
FIFA Ranking: 3
Argentina qualify for Qatar after becoming finalist Zone South America (CONMEBOL) under Brazil who are both undefeated in this zone qualification.
However, Argentina have more draws than Brazil, so Lionel Scaloni’s side finished second with 11 wins and 6 draws, to score 27 goals and concede 8 times. Argentina are also unbeaten in their last 35 matches.
Most Tango teams are likely to have players playing in Europe’s top five leagues, with most being the Premier League and the Spanish League.
Possible team from Argentina:
Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa/English League), Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal/LaLiga), Franco Armani (River Plate/Argentina)
defender: Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid/LaLiga), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla/LaLiga), Cristian Romero (Tottenham/English League), German Pezzella (Betis/LaLiga), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica/Portugal League), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla/LaLiga) , Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon/French League 1), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United/English League), Juan Foyth (Villarreal/LaLiga)
Midfielder : Rodrigo de Paul (Atletico Madrid/LaLiga), Leandro Paredes (Juventus/Italian Serie A), Giovani Lo Celso (Villarreal/LaLiga), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion/English League), Guido Rodriguez (Betis/LaLiga), Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez (Sevilla/LaLiga), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica/Portuguese League)
Forward player: Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain/Ligue 1), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan/Serie A), Angel Di Maria (Juventus/Serie A), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City/English League), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina/Serie A) , Paulo Dybala (Roma/Serie A), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid/LaLiga), Juan Foyth (Villarreal/LaLiga)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni (44). Former assistant to Jorge Sampaoli until the 2018 World Cup, he became an Argentine player when they won the U20 World Cup in 1997 and with Deportivo la Coruna won the Spanish League in 2000.
In 2019, he led Argentina to third place in the 2019 Copa America and to the title in 2021.
Most important players: Lionel Messi. The 35-year-old is looking to repeat Diego Maradona’s exploits by leading Argentina to the World Cup. He almost did in 2014.
Scored 90 goals in 164 games for the Argentina national team, during that season with Paris Saint-Germain he scored 12 goals and 14 assists of 18 games.
November 22: v Saudi Arabia
November 26: v Mexico
November 30: against Poland
Best World Cup results: Quarter-finals 1970 and 1986
Other Tournament Highlights: Eight-time CONCACAF Gold Cup winner, 1999 Confederations Cup winner, 2012 Olympic gold medalist
FIFA Ranking: 13
Mexico reached Qatar after finishing second in the CONCACAF zone behind Canada with 8 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. They only lost on goal difference against Canada.
Mexico along with the United States and three other countries automatically qualify for the third round of this zone.
Most members of the Mexican squad are players from local clubs, especially Monterey.
But they are also bolstered by a number of players who play in Europe such as Hirving Lozano at Napoli and Raul Jimenez at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Possible Mexican team:
Goalkeeper: Guillermo Ochoa (America), Alfredo Talavera (Juarez), Rodolfo Cota (Leon)
defender: Jorge Sanchez (Ajax/Netherlands), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Nestor Araujo (America), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Johan Vasquez (Cremonese/Italy), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk/Belgium), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey)
Midfielder : Edson Alvarez (Ajax/Netherlands), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Carlos Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Betis/Spain), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo/USA), Erick Gutierrez (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands) Bas), Orbelin Pineda (AEK Athens/Greece), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Diego Lainez (Sporting Braga/Portugal)
Forward player: Henry Martin (America), Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton/England), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey), Santiago Gimenez (Feyenoord/Netherlands), Alexis Vega (Guadalajara), Hirving Lozano (Napoli/Italy)
Coach: Gerard Martino. The 60-year-old Argentine coach has been coaching Mexico since 2019 and coached Barcelona, Argentina national team and Paraguay national team.
Key player: Guillermo Ochoa. The 37-year-old is Mexico’s most frequent player. Ochoa became the main player in the 0-0 draw against Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.
22 November: against Poland
November 26: against Argentina
November 30: v Saudi Arabia
Best World Cup results: Third in the 1974 and 1982 World Cup
Other Tournament Highlights: 1972 Olympic Champion
FIFA Ranking: 26
Reached the Qatar 2022 final after finishing second in the European Group I standings to face Sweden in playoffs which they beat 2-0.
Poland finished second to England in Group I after finishing 10 games with six wins, two draws and two losses.
The Italian Legion will likely be Poland’s dominant force, including goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and Arkadiusz Milik at Juventus, and Piotr Zielinski at Napoli.
Moreover, they still have the Aston Villa duo of Jan Bednarek and Matty Cash, and of course Robert Lewandowski who now strengthens Barcelona.
Possible Polish team:
Goalkeeper: Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus/Italy), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna/Italy), Bartlomiej Dragowski (Spezia/Italy), Kamil Grabara (FC Copenhagen/Denmark)
defender: Kamil Glik (Benevento/Italy), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria/Italy), Jan Bednarek (Aston Villa/England), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Matty Cash (Aston Villa/England), Jakub Kiwior (Spezia/Italy), Robert Gumny (Augsburg/Germany), Mateusz Wieteska (Clermont/France), Maik Nawrocki (Legia Warsaw)
Midfielder : Grzegorz Krychowiak (Al-Shabab/Saudi Arabia), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli/Italy), Karol Linetty (Turin/Italy), Przemyslaw Frankowski (Lens/France), Sebastian Szymanski (Feyenoord/Netherlands), Szymon Zurkowski (Fiorentina/ Italy) , Krystian Bielik (Birmingham City/England), Jakub Kaminski (Wolfsburg/Germany), Nicola Zalewski (Rome/Italy)
Forward player: Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona/Spain), Arkadiusz Milik (Juventus/Italy), Krzysztof Piatek (Salernitana/Italy), Karol Swiderski (Charlotte FC/USA)
Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz. The 52-year-old was arrested in January this year to replace Paulo Sousa who opted to coach Flamengo in Brazil. This coach’s most important record is leading Legia Warsaw to win the Polish League in 2020.
Most important players: Robert Lewandowski. Famously prolific at club level but didn’t score a single goal at the 2018 World Cup when Poland were knocked out of the group stage.
The 34-year-old is Bayern’s all-time top scorer.
The winner of two European Golden Boots has been named FIFA Player of the Year twice in the past two years.
November 22: against Mexico
November 26: v Saudi Arabia
November 30: against Argentina
Best World Cup results: last 16 in 1994
Other Tournament Highlights: Winner of the Asian Cup 1984, 1988 and 1996
FIFA Ranking: 51
Saudi Arabia qualified for the 2022 World Cup final after finishing top of Group B in Asia. Saudi Arabia went straight to the second round by winning Group D after going unbeaten with six wins and two draws.
In the third round, Saudi Arabia finished first ahead of Japan after registering 7 wins, 2 draws and one loss.
Saudi Arabia should be strengthened by players who play in the national league, mainly from Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr.
Possible Saudi team:
Goalkeeper: Mohammed Al-Owais (Al-Hilal), Mohammed Al Rubaie Al-Yami (Al-Ahli), Amin Bukhari (Al-Nassr), Nawaf Al-Aqidi (Al-Nassr)
defender: Saud Abdulhamid (Al-Hilal), Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal), Mohammed Al-Breik (Al-Hilal), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al-Hilal), Sultan Al-Ghanam (Al-Nassr), Hassan Tambakti (Al-Shabab), Abdulelah Al-Amri (Al-Nassr), Ziyad Al-Sahafi (Al-Taawoun), Ali Lajami (Al-Nassr), Abdullah Madu (Al-Nassr), Ahmed Bamsaud (Al-Ittihad)
Midfielder : Salman Al-Faraj (Al-Hilal), Salem Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al-Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab), Mohamed Kanno (Al-Hilal), Sami Al-Najei (Al -Nassr), Ali Al-Hassan (Al-Nassr), Nasser Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Abdulrahman Al-Aboud (Al-Ittihad), Fahad Al-Muwallad (Al-Shabab), Nawaf Al-Abed (Al -Shabab), Riyad Sharahili (Abha), Awad Al-Nashri (Al-Ittihad)
Forward player: Firas Al-Buraikan (Al-Fateh), Abdullah Al-Hamdan (Al-Hilal), Saleh Al-Shehri (Al-Hilal), Haitham Asiri (Al-Ahli), Haroune Camara (Al-Ittihad)
Coach: Hervé Renard. The 54-year-old French coach has been coaching the Saudis since 2019. The former player for the French League club led Zambia to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and three years at Ivory Coast in the FIFA Cup. of Nations 2015.
Most important players: Winger Salem al-Dawsari nicknamed “Tornado” has become the most important Saudi player. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he scored as the Saudis beat Egypt 2-1.
In World Cup qualifiers, he became the Saudis’ savior when they nearly lost to a weak side from Yemen to end in a 2-2 draw, also when they beat Uzbekistan.
November 22: against Argentina
November 26: against Poland
November 30: against Mexico
This news was broadcast on Antaranews.com with the title: 2022 World Cup Group C strengths profile and map
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