November 16, 2022 12:15 AM
Alex Lawes

2022 FIFA World Cup Predictions: Group C

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FIFA ranking: 3

FIFA World Cup appearances: 18th Entry

FIFA World Cup best: Winners (1978, 1986)

Manager: Lionel Scaloni

Captain: Lionel Messi

For the first time in his international career, Lionel Messi has a functional Argentine side that are serious contenders for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

La Albiceleste managed to win their first major tournament last summer when they defeated arch-rivals Brazil, in Brazil, in the 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America final and then they showcased their progress by hammering UEFA Euro 2020 winners Italy by three goals to nil in the CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions at Wembley in June of this year.

Whilst this squad may not be as star-studded an Argentinian squad as in the past, there remains some elite level quality but, most importantly, they are a cohesive unit. There is a tactical identity that has been implemented by Lionel Scaloni and they are currently on the longest unbeaten run of any in the world, 35, just three short of the international record.

With a strong spine playing a general supporting role for the great Messi, the two-time world champions will be confident of adding to their tally of global triumphs.

TSZ Prediction: Winners


FIFA ranking: 51

FIFA World Cup appearances: Sixth Entry

FIFA World Cup best: Round of 16 (1994)

Manager: Herve Renard

Captain: Salman Al-Faraj

Under the management of Herve Renard, Saudi Arabia have been much improved and qualified with relative ease to their second successive FIFA World Cup.

The Green Men collected 23 points from ten matches in the third round of AFC qualification as they finished atop of a tough group alongside Japan and Australia.

They have implemented a system and style of football that is very much the footballing philosophy of Renard. Renard has a history of helping smaller teams overachieve or bigger teams get over the line after a period of under achievement. For example, he led Zambia to a historic first ever AFCON title in 2012 before managing Ivory Coast to the same trophy in 2015, after a decade of Les Elephants shooting themselves in the foot.

He led Morocco back to the global stage in Russia in 2018, after the north Africans had spent 20 years failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Renard has done this based on solid and sound defensive principles that will make the Saudi’s difficult to break down. However, they are in a very tough group.

TSZ Prediction: Group stage


FIFA ranking: 13

FIFA World Cup appearances: 17th Entry

FIFA World Cup best: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)

Manager: Tata Martino

Captain: Andres Guardado

Let’s just start off with a quick mention and nod towards Mexico’s recent performances at FIFA World Cups. El Tri have been knocked out in the Round of 16 at each of the last seven tournaments, stretching back to USA ’94.

It is a simply stunning record for arguably the greatest under achievers in world football. The Mexicans have always had talented squads and a fiercely loyal footballing public but, somehow, they always fall short of reaching the fifth match of the tournament. Well, at least they have since 1986.

This time around, under the management of former Barcelona boss Tata Martino, they will be hoping for slightly different but there are causes for concern. Performances have been, at times, disjointed, especially in qualification, with a lack of fluidity in their attacking play. Having said that, though, things may be improving after their 4-0 hammering of an Iraqi side that then held Ecuador to a goalless draw in the build-up to the competition.

They have had a much-improved 2022 and come into this on the back of an inconsistent run of form and, whilst making the knockouts is very plausible, a Round of 16 tie against Denmark or France is expected.

TSZ Prediction: Round of 16


FIFA ranking: 26

FIFA World Cup appearances: Ninth Entry

FIFA World Cup best: Third (1974, 1982)

Manager: Czeslaw Michniewicz

Captain: Robert Lewandowski

In the Autumn of 2021, Poland were stunned by the sudden departure of manager Paulo Sousa, who opted to go and manage Brazilian side Flamengo ahead of their 2022 campaign. He was sacked a couple of months into the season and, in the meantime, Poland won their 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff match against Sweden in March.

Since that triumph, The Eagles have had a bit of a difficult year in a tough UEFA Nations League group alongside Belgium and the Netherlands, taking just a point from four games against the two sides and conceding 11 goals in the process. They did manage to do the double over Wales, though.

They head into the tournament with some in-form attackers that could be ready to thrive should Michniewicz opt for a system that suits their respective talents. A much-discussed three-at-the-back system would allow Piotr Zielinski to play in behind Arkadiusz Milik and, of course, Robert Lewandowski.

However, these are not new names being thrown together in the Polish national team and they have often underwhelmed at major tournaments, being knocked out in the group stages of both UEFA Euro 2020 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, despite fairly reasonable draws.

They appear relatively evenly matched with Mexico and a lot rests on that opening match of the tournament for both sides.

TSZ Prediction: Group stage

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