By. Mihir Kore
As the World Cup season is just around the corner, multiple teams out there want the gold. Group C is a group guaranteeing a battle amongst all the teams. We have Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia. Although Saudi Arabia might be the underdogs, they could surprise us, as this is football and most importantly the World Cup.
November 22nd vs Saudi Arabia
November 26th vs Mexico
November 30th vs Poland
FIFA World Ranking: 3rd
Argentina are one of the teams who are looking extremely good coming into this year's World Cup. They are undefeated in their last 36 games and are not a team looking to slow down. After winning the Copa America and the Finalissima, they are looking to add the final piece to their trophy cabinet. The team under Lionel Scalloni looks better and better each time they are on the pitch, with Lionel Messi still being at his best and youngsters like Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez, this Argentina team are surely one of the favourites.
The player to look out for would be, Lionel Messi as he is on top form right now, and having him is always the boost that Argentina would need. Another player would be Lisandro Martinez, a former Ajax and now Manchester United player who has been a rock for the team, strengthening their defence and making top-notch interceptions and reducing the pressure on the goalkeeper. Last but not least the Argentine hero, Di Maria has not been in the best form for Juventus but can make a huge impact with Argentina as he always has been the player who gives his best, every time he is on the pitch.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani ( River Plate ), Gerónimo Rulli ( Villareal FC ) and Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa )
Defenders: Juan Foyth ( Villareal FC ), Nicolás Tagliafico (Olympique Lyon), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Germán Pezzella (Real Betis), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid))
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Thiago Almada (Atlanta United), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis) Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica)
Forwards: Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Lionel Messi. (Paris Saint-Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Roma), Lautaro Martinez (Internazionale, Inter Milan)
November 22nd vs Argentina
November 26th vs Poland
November 30th vs Mexico
FIFA World Ranking: 51st
Saudi Arabia will be a team who is looking to repeat their past glory from the World Cup 28 years ago in the United States, where they reached the round of 16. The team has undergone a huge change including the coaching staff as well as some new players have made their way into the team since the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They did defeat the best teams in the AFC division, Japan and Australia although the qualification process was straightforward. The team has lost a pair of friendlies in June, losing to the likes of Columbia and Venezuela by the same scoreline (1-0). Nevertheless, Renard’s team has a tough task this year, as his group contains the likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and a determined Mexico team.
A player to watch from this Saudi side would be the 25-year-old centre-back, Abdulelah Al-Amri. After getting his call-up in 2021, he has solidified his position as one of the standout players and has been an important player for this side. In the Saudi Pro League, attackers have no chance of getting past him, once every two matches. Another player to mention would be Salem Al-Dawsari a star in the Saudi Arabia team, he plays with flair and delivers eye-catching performances. The forward had a g/a of 14 in 21 games last season (9 goals and 5 assists). He is a key player for the Green Falcons and will be looking to make his presence known against the defenders.
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al Rubai (Al-Ahli), Mohammed Al-Owais (Al-Hilal), Nawaf Al-Aqidi(Al- Nassr)
Defenders: Sultan Al-Ghannam(Al-Nassr), Abdullah Madu (Al-Nassr), Abulelah Al Amri (Al- Nissr), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al- Hilal), Mohammed Al Breik (Al-Hilal, Saud Abdulhamid (Al-Hilal), Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal), Hassan Tambakti (Al-Shabab)
Midfielders: Salman Al-Faraj (Al-Hilal), Abdullah Al-Malki (Al Hilal), Salem Al-Dawasri (Al-Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al-Hilal), Ali Al-Hassan (Al-Nassr), Sami Al Najei (Al-Nassr), Nawaf Al-Abed (Al-Shabab), Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab), Abdulrahman Al-Aboud (Al-Ittihad), Mohamed Kanno (Al-Hilal), Nasser Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Riyadh Sharahili (Abha)
Forwards: Firas Al-Buraikan (Al-Fateh), Saleh Al-Sheri (Al-Hilal), Haitham Asiri (Al-Ahli)
November 22nd vs Poland
November 26th vs Argentina
November 30th vs Saudi Arabia
FIFA World Ranking: 13th
This Mexican side although might be full of talented players, the controversy around the coach overshadows that. The media and fans questioned coach Gerardo Martino’s tactics and approach toward his team. He still has yet to have a concrete style of play with this Mexico side, and even then they are not looking like the top team. A part of it is to be blamed on the injuries the team has seen in the last couple of months, which have not helped the team. Nevertheless, they are looking to change things in this year's World Cup.
A player who has made his presence known is Mexico’s own, Hirving Lozano. He is their key player and main hope in this World Cup. It was Hirving Lozano who helped beat Germany in a historic win for the El Tri in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He is quick, agile and has fantastic shooting making him a serial threat to the defences, Mexico will be looking to maximize their chances with Lozano upfront. Diego Lainez is another star to keep an eye on this year, he is one of the youngest players in this Mexico side and one with exceptional talent although he is yet to reach his full potential. This World Cup could be that stepping stone for him, Olympic bronze medalist at Tokyo 2022 and also a match-winning specialist who has made the fans call him the “Mexican Messi”.
Goalkeepers: Alfredo Talavera (Juarez), Rodolfo Cota (Leon), Guillermo Ochoa (America)
Defence: Nestor Araujo (America), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Johan Vasquez (Cremonese), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Jorge Sanchez (Ajax), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Kelvin Alvarez (Pachuca)
Midfielders: Edson Alvarez (Ajax), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Carlos Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Erick Rodriguez (PSV), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Orbelin Pineda (AEK Athens), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Uriel Antona (Cruz Azul), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Roberto Alvarado (Guadalajara)
Forwards: Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Alexis Vega (Guadalajara), Regelio Funes Mori (Monterrey), Henry Martin (America), Hirivng Lozano (Napoli)
November 22nnd vs Mexico
November 26th vs Saudi Arabia
November 26th vs Argentina
FIFA World Ranking: 26th
Poland is a squad with immense talent and some established names but as a team have always fallen short. The 2018 World Cup was one to forget for them, as they did not make it out of the group stage, but they are back and ready to deliver. The Polish team looks strong, getting 20 points from their ten games in the World Cup qualifiers, showing us just how prepared they are. The showdown will be with having Argentina in their group, as two heavyweights clash: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
The ex-Bavarian player and now Blaugrana star, Robert Lewandowski is the main player for the Polish side, having him upfront is an instant boost of morale for the team. He is looking hungry for the gold and will be there to prove why he is one of the best strikers in the world if not the best. Another player to keep an eye on would be Nicola Zalewski, who has been a key player for Roma since his debut in 2021. He plays an integral part in the Polish team and has already seven senior international appearances, showing great potential in each match he plays.
Goalkeepers: Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna), Kamil Grabara (Copenhagen)
Defenders: Matty Cash (Aston Villa), Artur Jedrzejczk (Legia Warsaw), Matesusz Wieteska (Clermont), Jan Bednarek (Aston Villa), Jakub Kiwior (Spezia), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Nicola Zalewski (Roma) Robert Gummy (FC Ausburg)
Midfielders: Krystian Bielik (Birmingham City), Damian Szymański (AEK Athens), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Al-Shabib), Kamil Grosicki (Pogon Szczecin), Jakub Kamiński (VFL Wolfsburg), Szymon Zurkowski (Fiorentina), Sebastian Szymański (Feyenoord), Piotr Zieliński (Napoli), Przemysław Frankowski (Lens), Michał Skóras (Lech Poznań)
Forwards: Arkadiusz Milik (Juventus), Robert Lewandowski (FC Barcelona), Karol Świderski (Charlotte FC), Krzysztof Piątek (Salernitana)