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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Group C Preview

Messi has one more chance at his World Cup dream.

Jamaica v Argentina
Argentina will once again pin its hopes on Messi in Group C!
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

All eyes will be on Lionel Messi in Group C. Argentina are the clear favorites here, but after that, it really could be anyone else claiming that second spot.


Argentina

FIFA Rank: #3

Betting odds to win: 11/2 (bet365)

Qualified via: Argentina finished a comfortable 2nd in South American CONMEBOL qualification. Only Brazil finished ahead of the Argentines, who settled for second despite going undefeated (11-6-0).

Manager: Lionel Scaloni

2018 World Cup Result: Argentina were a disappointment four years ago. They won just a single game and crashed out in the first round of the knockouts to eventual champions France. Messi scored just once in their four games, and they conceded in each game.

Tactics and Overview: There is a lot of pressure on Messi to win this year. This is far from a one-man squad, and it will take the collective to win the Cup. We know they have the players to dominate possession and to score, but the key to their success will be their back line. If they can keep from allowing early goals, they will be tough to beat. An abundance of talented playmakers means they’ll always have a chance.

Players to Consider for Your Fantasy Teams

Lionel Messi. It will be hard not to have him in your squad.

Lautaro Martinez is another attacking player to consider. He should benefit from Messi’s and Angel Di Maria’s creativity.


Saudi Arabia

FIFA Rank: #51

Betting odds to win: 750/1 (bet365)

Qualified via: First place in AFC Group B.

Manager: Herve Renard

2018 World Cup Result: Saudi Arabia placed third in Group A in the 2018 Cup. Their opening-game 5-0 loss to host nation Russia got their tournament off to a rough start. They put up a stronger showing in their second match, but still lost 0-1 to Uruguay. That defeat would ultimately seal their fate, despite a 2-1 victory over Egypt in game three.

Tactics and Overview: Saudi Arabia are ranked second-lowest of all teams in the Cup. However, they do have a bit of a home-field advantage, as Qatar is a next door neighbor. They will play defensively, most likely a conservative 4-5-1 lineup. This team has no players who play outside of Saudi Arabia’s domestic league, so the World Cup will be a big stage. But they went without a loss in their last 17 qualifying games, so they won’t be pushovers.

Players to Consider for Your Fantasy Teams

In such a tough group, I’m not looking too closely at any Saudis. But Salem Al-Dawsari has spent time in Spain, and is their best attacking option.


Mexico

FIFA Rank: #13

Betting odds to win: 150/1 (bet365)

Qualified via: Qualified 2nd in CONCACAF.

Manager: Gerardo “Tata” Martino

2018 World Cup Result: Mexico finished second in an extremely difficult Group F, before falling to Brazil 2-0 in the Round of 16. They surprised many with an open 1-0 Group Stage win against Germany, and went on to defeat South Korea before losing to group winners Sweden 3-0. That loss doomed them to the fatal knockout round matchup against Brazil.

Tactics and overview: Mexico like to press and hold the ball, usually in a 4-3-3 formation. When in form, they play well in tight spaces and make life difficult for opponents. There is plenty of talent here, if they’re healthy, but that’s a big “if” for them right now in some key attacking areas. Having watched them muddle through qualifying, I think “El Tri” will need to settle on a preferred lineup and solidify their defense. An opening win against Poland may be a necessity to get through to next round.

Players to Consider for Your Fantasy Teams

Napoli’s “Chucky” Lozano is Mexico’s best player at the moment. He can score as well as provide for his teammates.

Edson Alvarez organizes and runs the midfield. The Ajax man may be on the ball a lot.


Poland

FIFA Rank: #26

Betting odds to win: 150/1 (bet365)

Qualified via: Poland finished runner up to England in Group I. Playoff win over Sweden to Quality.

Manager: Czeslaw Michniewicz

2018 World Cup Result: Poland’s tournament began with an opening 2-1 loss to Senegal. A subsequent 3-0 loss to Columbia meant their 1-0 win against Japan wasn’t enough to see them through. Robert Lewandowski failed to score.

Tactics and overview: Lewandowski is a true superstar, and there is a definite reliance on him. Poland are happy to defend and then counter when the chance arises. Lewandowski does have attacking support, and their success may come down to how well he can be fed. Their opening clash with Mexico may determine whether they get through.

Player to Consider for Your Fantasy Teams

One of the best strikers in the history of the game, Robert Lewandowski is the focal point of the Poland’s attack and won’t need many chances. This group doesn’t feature the strongest of defenses, so expect him to get some.


Ready to play fantasy FIFA World Cup 2022? Join our mini-league using this link:

https://play.fifa.com/fantasy-classic/join-league/K2QVR5ZB

League code: K2QVR5ZB

Then chart your pathway to success using our how-to guide to the official fantasy World Cup game, our Group Stage fixture difficulty table, and our previews of each of the other World Cup groups (either published or coming soon!

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How do you see Group C playing out? Will Saudi Arabia spoil the plans of the big boys? This is likely the swan song for Messi and Lewandowski — how do you think they’ll perform? Log in, take our polls, and share your thoughts in the Comments!

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Poll

Which team will win Group C?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Argentina
    (56 votes)
  • 1%
    Saudi Arabia
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    Mexico
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Poland
    (1 vote)
62 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which team will take 2nd in Group C.

  • 8%
    Argentina
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    Saudi Arabia
    (1 vote)
  • 42%
    Mexico
    (21 votes)
  • 46%
    Poland
    (23 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now

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