FIFA World Cup: Group C favorites Argentina lost vs Saudi Arabia earlier in the day, both Mexico and Poland desperately needed a win in their FIFA World Cup opener at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday, but a goal never came for either side. Saudi Arabia shook up Group C with a 2-1 upset victory over Argentina.
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Robert Lewandowski had the game’s best scoring chance from 12 yards away, but the Poland captain was denied by 37-year-old goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 58th minute. Lewandowski’s penalty attempt was subpar at best, at an easy high to save and not hit with much power. Lewandowski is Poland’s all-time leading scorer with 76 goals, but he remains without one at the World Cup.
The draw means that in order to advance from the group, either Mexico or Poland will need to beat Saudi Arabia, who currently sits top of the group, and take at least one point vs Argentina.
As for Poland, 2022 will be back-to-back FIFA World Cup appearances, on the heels of missing back-to-back tournaments in 2010 and 2014. They were eliminated from the group after two games in 2018, before winning in their farewell appearance on matchday 3. For many of the stars the world has become so familiar with in recent years, this will be their last hurrah, as Lewandowski (34), Kamil Glik (34), Kamil Grosicki (34), Grzegorz Krychowiak (32) approach the finish line internationally. Between them, 414 caps’ worth of experience at a very high level. Poland hasn’t been to the knockout rounds of the World Cup since 1986 in, coincidentally, Mexico.
While Mexico dominated possession, Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny turned away all four of El Tri’s shots on goal. Mexico has made it to the knockout round in the last seven World Cups, but the “quinto partido,” or fifth game, has eluded the team. El Tri’s best showing at the World Cup was reaching the quarterfinals in 1970 and 1986 as hosts.