Messi vs Mexico – a match for the legacy of the Flea

Whatever it was. World Cup 2022 is already underway and everything else ceases to matter not only in football. The phrase that the Earth stops spinning when it starts has been coined for the World Cup. Gadzeta delo sport wrote it 40 years ago and it is still relevant. In the following weeks, there will also be special editions of “The Three Matches”, because your favorite series cannot be left out of the number one topic. What to expect from another batch of spectacular World Cup matches this weekend:

Poland – Saudi Arabia, Saturday 15:00

Poland and Saudi Arabia go into their second Group C clash in an unexpected starting position. And while a draw with Mexico does not seem like such a drama for Poland, the full asset of 3 points for the Arabs, and after a 2:1 reversal in the match with Argentina – that was already and remains a shock.

In their fifth appearance at the world finals, the “falcons” recorded the biggest triumph in their history – defeating Leo Messi’s Argentina. Let’s not forget that on their debut in the memorable 1994, Saudi Arabia exited the group with 6 points, only to be knocked out in the Round of 16 by Sweden. And now after 3 points in the first match, the team of the French coach Hervé Renard is already looking to the next round, which can come very easily with another victory – this time over Poland.

And the Poles are definitely not what they were until recently, let alone if we compare them to their heyday. A goalless draw against Mexico would have been avoided if Robert Lewandowski had scored from the penalty spot for the club, but there is now no room for a second mistake for Poland and victory over Saudi Arabia is a must-win.

However, the third match of Leva and company is against France and it is difficult to plan 3 points against the “roosters” just then. Barcelona’s top scorer also posted an apologetic text to the Polish people on social media for his miss from the penalty spot, but it is a fact that the Poles did not manage to create many chances in their first game and in general played a little without ideas.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia showed a lot of courage and heart against Argentina and now is the time to show that it was not a fluke. The captain Al Faraj forced out of the first leg and that is a problem for the Falcons, while the focus of attention for Poland’s defense will surely be Saleh El Shehri, who scored 7 goals and provided 2 assists in the World Cup qualifiers and scored in the memorable win over Argentina . Our team’s predictions for the three Saturday matches can be found in the video episode.

Photo: Getty images

Argentina – Mexico, Saturday 21:00

We remain in Group C, although chronologically Argentina and Mexico play the last match of the program for Saturday, but for the rest of the matches earlier on Saturday – shortly when we close this group. And the late match in it promises to be “a meter of skin and a kilo of blood”. Still, Latin passions in a clash between Mexico and Argentina somehow guarantee emotions.

Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who saved Lewandowski’s penalty in the first leg, and team-mate Andres Guardado made their fifth consecutive World Cup appearances in a 0-0 draw against Poland, equaling the feat of compatriots Rafa Marquez and Antonio Carbajal. And in this great company are other legends like Lothar Matheus, Gigi Buffon, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But for coach Gerardo Martino’s Mexico, history doesn’t matter right now. Especially when we look at the last three meetings with Argentina. In them (albeit friendly), the Gauchos did not concede a single goal and scored 8 goals for three victories.

Photo: Getty images

Now, however, Argentina looks shaky. Several misses and interventions by VAR for ambushes deprived the team of comfort against Saudi Arabia, to come that collapse at the beginning of the second half, when Messi and company were turned 1-2 by their brave rivals. The team has been heavily criticized in the world media, the functional fitness of star Messi has also been called into question and his manager Lionel Scaloni is likely to make several changes to his line-up for Saturday night, which is expected to keep the likes of Angel Di Maria on the bench at the expense of youngsters like Julián Alvarez, for example. Still, all eyes will be on Messi, who will take both the positives from a strong Argentina in Qatar and the negatives from another failure. A possible elimination already in the group phase will give a solid blow to the reputation and football legacy that Messi leaves with the national team of Argentina. Regardless of a Copa America win in 2021, such a World Cup failure, albeit after Messi’s strongest years, will leave a mark and the opportunity for all sorts of criticism of one of the all-time greats.

France – Denmark, Saturday 18:00

Finally, we look at Group D, which also has two games on Saturday. We mark the match between Tunisia and Australia, which starts only at 12:00 Bulgarian time. Here, Tunisia are a point from their goalless draw with Denmark, and Australia are without a point after the crushing upset they suffered at the hands of France.

However, our focus is entirely on the meeting of the two favorites in the group – the “red dynamite” and the world champions from France. Coach Didier Deschamps can be pleased with the 4-1 win against Australia, but his mood must have fallen more or less after seeing yet another injury to one of his players. After all the injuries to important names in the French squad even before the World Cup, now Deschamps saw how Luca Hernandez also entered the hospital with one of the most serious injuries – torn cruciate ligaments in the knee.

The defender was successfully replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez against Australia and personally congratulated by the match’s two goalscorer Olivier Giroud, who dedicated his goals in the match to Luca. No wonder his change of position remained the only one in the composition of the “roosters”, who looked more than good with their atomic offensive four in the composition of Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele and Giroud. The four will now have a tidy and always dangerous Denmark team, led by Christian Eriksen and coach Kasper Hulman.

The Danes reached the semi-finals of the last European Championship, and the expectations are now for a solid performance, although in the opening match against Tunisia we did not see enough, especially in attack. Moreover, after the 60th minute, Hülman took off his two strikers Andreas Skoll Olsen from Club Brugge and Kasper Dolberg from Sevilla, and the media in Denmark expect at least one of them to lose their place in the starting line-up against France.

GAME WITH PRIZES

In our special World Cup episodes, winners will again be drawn only on the official efbet Instagram account. We await the three predictions in your comments, garnished with the hashtag “THE THREE MATCHES”. If you are over 18 years old and guess 3 out of 3, you can win one of our three prizes of BGN 100 free bet each. This is how we see the three matches, and we expect you to weigh in:

Poland – Saudi Arabia X

Argentina – Mexico 1

France – Denmark 1

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