World Cup Group C: Argentina headline the group as Lionel Messi looks for an elusive winner’s medal

World Cup 2022 team-by-team guide


Manager: Lionel Scaloni

World Cup history: 18th appearance. Best result – Winners in 1978 and 1986

Is this to be the one for Lionel Messi? Superb form heading into the tournament and a well-drilled team means Argentina are in far better shape than the last World Cup. A Copa America win over Brazil last year and a 3-0 win against Italy in Finalissima suggest they will be there at the business end.

Star man: Lionel Messi. Who else but the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner? A win in this tournament would surely cement his status as the greatest of the modern era, if not all time.


Saudi Arabia

Manager: Hervé Renard

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Round of 16 in 1994

The Saudis will be watching closely how the hosts Qatar’s jamboree goes as they prepare their own bid to host the 2030 World Cup with Egypt and Greece. An entirely domestic-based outfit, eight of Saudi Arabia’s last nine games have been 1-0 or 0-0 either way, so don’t expect them to entertain.

Star man: Salem Al-Dawsari. The winger made one appearance for Villarreal in Spain but has spent the rest of his career at Al-Hilal. A nifty dribbler with good close control.


Manager: Gerardo Martino

World Cup history: 17th appearance. Best result – Quarter-finals in 1970 and 1986

Mexico have managed to get out of the group in an impressive seven consecutive World Cups, although losing their last 16 match in each one. Results have been mixed in the build-up to Qatar but they will be determined to keep that record of reaching the knockout stages. First match against Poland is key.

Star man: Hirving Lozano. Impressive in the last World Cup where he was man of the match against Germany, the tricky winger now plays for an in-form Napoli attack.


Manager: Czesław Michniewicz

World Cup history: Ninth appearance. Third place in 1974 and 1982

Poland haven’t reached the last 16 of the World Cup since 1986 and the time is now if Poland want to capitalise on having a great player like Robert Lewandowski in their squad. The team very much runs through the Barcelona forward, but Napoli’s Piotr Zieliński in midfield is another to watch out for.

Star man: Robert Lewandowski. One of the most prolific top-level scorers of his generation, the striker is lethal in front of goal and has scored 53 goals in his last 68 Poland games.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times