Group C offered us one of the shock results of the tournament as Saudi Arabia earned a 2-1 win over Argentina. The Kingdom definitely earned it too. They played hard — full credit to them. The Poland and Mexico goalless draw means that the Saudis sit alone on top of the group.
Group D went more “according to plan” with France taking care of business against Australia while Tunisia and Denmark played to a draw.
Games below are in order of time played.
Tunisia vs Australia
Al Janoub Stadium
Both teams will believe this is their most winnable game in the group. Australia needs points to remain in the tournament, and with Tunisia having to face France in its third match, this is a big game.
In its first game, Tunisia was able to manage just one shot on target and saw just 39% of the possession. This was to be expected against a Danish team with talent and experience. But Tunisia fought hard and they will feel some confidence going into this game. Their fans showed up in force and in full voice last time and will gain. Both the team and the fans will be ready.
Australia will need to bounce back from the France defeat, where after going ahead early, they conceded four. They really need to win this game if they’re going to advance, but a tie will keep them alive. Barely.
This could come down to which team executes on both ends of set pieces and who makes an error.
Prediction: Tunisia 1 - 0 Australia
Poland vs Saudi Arabia
Education City Stadium
Poland missed a huge opportunity against Mexico, as Robert Lewandowski’s penalty attempt was saved, dooming them to a 0-0 draw. They need full points against Saudi Arabia, as they must finish the group against Argentina. Saudi Arabia won’t be able to control possession against them the way Mexico did, so it will be interesting to see how Poland sets up against a team that — on paper — they should be able to beat.
Saudi Arabia is riding high after shocking the world in front of a “home” crowd of green. But in a group like this one, one win won’t be enough. They will need to turn the momentum from their first match into more points. The Saudis are a team of older players, so fitness may be a factor for their starting XI. They scored on counters, and Poland will most likely leave openings for that. They need to stay disciplined and search for chances.
Prediction: Poland 1 - 0 Saudi Arabia
France vs Denmark
France took a shock to system when they gave up a goal before the 10 minute mark in their opener. But they recovered and showed what they can do. Kylian Mbappe oozed class; he’s going to be tough to contain this Cup. Target man Oliver Giroud scored twice, which will bode well for France moving forward. Lucas Hernandez will be out for the remainder of the tournament though. A win today gets them through, but even a draw should be enough.
Denmark will be disappointed not to have beaten a tough Tunisia side. They certainly had chances, but that’s the Cup, isn’t it? No games are easy. And this one will be tougher. The Danes won’t be able to control the ball as they did in their opener, and they will need to finish the limited chances they probably will have, which they didn’t do against Tunisia. Their midfield will need to play well, and Kasper Schmeichel may need to have a big game for them to leave with even a draw. (Thomas Delaney is a doubt.)
Prediction: France 2 - 0 Denmark
Argentina vs Mexico
This is the game of the day.
After losing its first game, Argentina now NEEDS points, and maybe even a win. They will be feeling the pressure, but they have players who have been in pressure situations before, even though the Cup takes it up a notch. One has to think that changes will be made. They won’t have the near 70% of the ball against Mexico as they did against the Saudis. They got caught out on the goals that they conceded, and their defense will need to compete against a quick and crafty Mexican team who likes to move the ball.
Mexico couldn’t find the back of the net despite controlling the first game. Guillermo Ochoa came up big when he needed to with that massive penalty save to keep the game scoreless. He’ll need to be on point again, as he can expect to be tested. Mexico will want the ball and will press. They won’t be scared of the Argentinians. Mexico knows who they are and play within themselves. But they have to score. Will changes be made upfront?
This one could be fun!
Predictions: Argentina 2 - 2 Mexico
My heart rate is still coming down from the USA vs England game. The action continues and anything can happen in these two groups! Join in below!