World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C: Teams, Standings, and matches for Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland in Qatar
Argentina and Poland have reached the knockout phase of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
World Cup Group C came to a tense conclusion when a last-minute goal scored by Saudi Arabia threatened to upset the apple cart.
Saudi Arabia were meant to be the, well, for lack of a better phrase, the comedy foil in this group. It was expected by everyone that Argentina and Mexico would slug it out for supremacy, while Poland would put up a spirited, if ultimately doomed, battle.
In the end, Group C was nothing of the sort.
Saudi Arabia opened the group up by stunning Argentina, handing them a 2-1 defeat. With Mexico unable to break a deadlock with the Poles, suddenly the script had been flipped. Mexico were clinging on for dear life and the team standing between them and an ignominious end to their streak of seven straight Round of 16 appearances? Saudi Arabia.
A late goal by the Saudis looked for the briefest of moments like the whole apple cart could be upturned, but in the end, it settled into a 2-1 win for Mexico. Not enough however to see them through.
The Argentines go through at the top of the group and will face the runners-up of Group D, the Australian Socceroos for their trouble, while Group C runners-up, Poland, will have an altogether steeper hill to climb when they face the Group D champions, France.
Both Saudi Arabia and Mexico head home, though in markedly different circumstances. The Mexicans are stunned and disbelieving while the Saudis can hold their heads high. Nobody expected anything of them and a win over Argentina and a goal against Mexico is quite a result from them.
- France and Poland will square off at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Sunday, 4 December 2022 (kick-off at 6pm Local Time).
- Argentina and Australia will get their rumble on at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan on Saturday, 3 December 2022 (kick-off at 10pm Local Time).
Group C of the 2022 FIFA World Cup took place from 22 to 30 November 2022. The group consisted of national association football representing Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland. The top two teams, Argentina and Poland, advanced to the round of 16. This marked the first time that Mexico did not advance past the first round since 1978.
The first match of the group was between Argentina and Saudi Arabia. The two teams had faced each other four times prior to the tournament, most recently in 2012, a 0–0 draw in a friendly game, though Argentina beat Saudi Arabia 3–1 back in the 1992 King Fahd Cup. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina and ended their 36-match unbeaten streak. According to Gracenote, the win was the “most surprising” in World Cup history, with many calling it one of the biggest World Cup upsets in history. This was also the second consecutive time that Argentina did not win their opening match at a World Cup, after drawing 1–1 with Iceland in 2018; and the first time since 1990 that Argentina lost their opening match. Argentina had taken the lead in the 10th minute with a penalty from Lionel Messi, awarded for a foul on Leandro Paredes, which he rolled into the left corner. They also had three goals ruled out for offside. Saudi Arabia equalized in the 48th minute with a low shot to the right corner from Saleh Al-Shehri. They took the lead five minutes later when Salem Al-Dawsari curled the ball into the right corner of the net from just inside the penalty area.
The second match was held between Mexico and Poland. They had met eight times previously including once in the World Cup, in Poland’s 3–1 first group stage victory in 1978, and most recently in 2017 in a 1–0 win for Mexico in a friendly. The only shot on target of the first half was from Jorge Sánchez, which was punched away by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny. In the 54th minute, Poland captain Robert Lewandowski was awarded a penalty after the Video Assistant Referee judged that Héctor Moreno had fouled the Poland captain inside the penalty area. Guillermo Ochoa saved the penalty taken by Lewandowski, diving to his left, and the game stayed goalless. At the other end of the field, Mexico had a chance to win the game as a ball into the penalty area from Edson Álvarez went towards Henry Martín who attempted to head the ball beyond Szczęsny, however, the Poland goalkeeper managed to beat the ball away. Poland failed to win their opening game in a World Cup for the eighth time having won just one of their nine opening World Cup games, though for the first time since 1986, Poland did not lose the opening game of a World Cup.
Poland and Saudi Arabia had faced each other four times prior to the tournament most recently in 2006, a 2–1 win for Poland in a friendly game. Piotr Zieliński for Poland scored the opening goal in the 39th minute. At the end of the first half, Saleh Al-Shehri was fouled in the box and was alwarded a penalty kick. Salem Al-Dawsari attempt was saved by Wojciech Szczęsny in the first minute of stoppage time. In the second half, an error by Abdulellah Al-Malki led to Robert Lewandowski scoring his first World Cup goal in the 82nd minute as Saudi Arabia were defeated by Poland 2–0. The result meant that Poland did not lose their two opening World Cup games for the first time since 1986.
Argentina and Mexico had played at FIFA World Cups three times. Argentina had won all three: 6–3 group stage victory in 1930, 2–1 round of 16 win in 2006 and another round of 16 victory by 3–1 in 2010. After a goalless first half between Argentina and Mexico, Messi put Argentina into the lead in the 64th minute. Enzo Fernández made it 2–0 and secured the win in the 87th minute with a curled finish to the right corner of the net.
The third matchday encounter between Poland and Argentina was the third time the two nations met in a FIFA World Cup. Wojciech Szczęsny made a penalty save in the first half to deny Lionel Messi’s goal, only to concede twice for the first time in this FIFA World Cup when Argentina scored two goals in the second half, the first by Alexis Mac Allister with a low shot to the left corner and the second from Julián Álvarez with a shot to the top right corner as Argentina won 2–0, topping the group with two wins. Despite this, Poland would eventually join Argentina in the last sixteen thanks to a superior goal difference than Mexico.
Saudi Arabia and Mexico had met five previous times, most recently in 1999, a 5–1 win for Mexico at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. After a goalless first half, Mexico struck twice in the second half with a volley from a corner kick by Henry Martín in 47th minute before Luis Chávez doubled Mexico’s lead with a thunderous free kick in 52th minute. However, Mexico failed to find a third goal, which they needed to overtake Poland on goal difference – Mexico had received more yellow cards than Poland and would have been eliminated on this basis if the teams finished level on points, goal difference, and goals scored. Salem Al-Dawsari finally buried Mexico’s hope of progress in the 5th minute of added time with a goal after a one-two, which confirmed both teams’ elimination from the tournament as Mexico claimed the 2–1 win over the Persian Gulf opponent.
|1||Argentina||3||2||0||1||5||2||+3||6||Advance to the knockout stage|
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
In the round of 16:
- The winners of Group C, Argentina, advanced to play the runners-up of Group D, Australia.
- The runners-up of Group C, Poland, advanced to play the winners of Group D, France.
Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
The two teams had faced each other four times prior to the tournament, most recently in 2012, a 0–0 draw in a friendly game, though Argentina beat Saudi Arabia 3–1 back in the 1992 King Fahd Cup. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina and ended their 36-match unbeaten streak.
Mexico 0-0 Poland
The two teams had met eight times previously including once in the World Cup, in Poland’s 3–1 first group stage victory in 1978, and most recently in 2017 in a 1–0 win for Mexico in a friendly.
Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia
The two teams had faced each other four times, most recently in 2006, a 2–1 win for Poland in a friendly game.
The win against Saudi Arabia marked the first time that Poland avoided defeat in their opening two World Cup matches since 1986, having previously failed to do so in 2002, 2006 and 2018.
Argentina 2-0 Mexico
Argentina and Mexico had played at FIFA World Cups three times. Argentina had won all three: 6–3 group stage victory in 1930, 2–1 round of 16 win in 2006 and another round of 16 victory by 3–1 in 2010.
Poland 0-2 Argentina
The third matchday encounter between Poland and Argentina was the third time the two nations met in a FIFA World Cup.
Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico
Saudi Arabia and Mexico had met five previous times, most recently in 1999, a 5–1 win for Mexico at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Lionel Messi is on track to win his first World Cup trophy in his final FIFA men’s tournament.
After Argentina shockingly fell to Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their Group C opener in what goes down as the biggest World Cup upset in history, they bounced back with consecutive 2-0 wins to claim top spot in Group C.
Poland also managed to squeeze into the knockout stages on goal difference with a single goalkeeping Mexico stuck in third spot.
Despite stunning Argentina in their opening game, Saudi Arabia ended up finishing bottom of the group after two straight losses.
World Cup Group C standings
|4. Saudi Arabia-E||3||3||1||2||0||3||5||-2|
Q = Qualified to Round of 16
E = Eliminated
Group C schedule, results
|Tue, Nov. 22||Argentina 1, S. Arabia 2||Highlights|
|Tue, Nov. 22||Mexico 0, Poland 0||Highlights|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Poland 2, S. Arabia 0||Highlights|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Argentina 2, Mexico 0||Highlights|
|Wed, Nov. 30||Poland 0, Argentina 2||Highlights|
|Wed, Nov. 30||S. Arabia 1, Mexico 2||Highlights|
The four teams selected into the group are playing a round-robin format with each nation facing the other three. Group standings are based on points from those three group-stage matches — three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss.
The top two teams from each group based on total points advance to the single-game knockouts. If teams are tied on points, goal difference is the first tiebreaker followed by goals scored. If teams are also tied in those categories another set of tiebreakers is applied.
World Cup Group C teams
One of the World Cup’s traditional powerhouses, the 2022 tournament in Qatar could see a return to the old order of Argentina as a major force to be reckoned with, but it will also mark the last hurrah for one of the game’s greatest-ever players.
Lionel Messi is now 35, and Qatar will be the last chance for him to add the World Cup trophy to his already bulging cabinet and cap off a remarkable career, after he confirmed it will be his last appearance at the tournament.
Undoubtedly, he will be the star name for the South Americans — who head to the Middle East as the Copa America champions, following their victory over arch-rivals Brazil last year — but there is plenty of additional talent in Lionel Scaloni’s side too, not least from the likes of Angel Di Maria, who scored the vital goal in that Copa final victory.
- Current FIFA world ranking: 3 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 2nd (CONMEBOL)
- World Cup titles: 2
- World Cup appearances (last): 17 (Russia 2018)
- How qualified: CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification runners-up: 11W-0L-6D
- Coach: Lionel Scaloni (Argentina) since August 2018
- Key players: Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain / France), Angel Di Maria (Juventus / Italy), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid / Spain)
In their last four involvements at the World Cup, Saudi Arabia’s exit has come in the group stages — and it is difficult to envisage that being bettered this time around in Qatar.
Herve Renard’s team deserve credit for finishing above Australia in qualifying, but there is a feeling that they could find matters much more difficult when faced with tougher tasks.
Each member of the Saudi Arabia squad currently plays in their home country, although in Renard they have a coach who has experienced the full breadth of international football, with previous spells in charge of Morocco, Ivory Coast, Zambia (twice) and Angola. At Russia 2018, Saudi Arabia exited having scored just two goals, and Renard will be desperately hoping that striker Saleh Al Shehri can return to full fitness to lead them this time after his four goals in the qualifiers.
- Current FIFA world ranking: 51 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 6th (AFC)
- World Cup titles:—
- World Cup appearances (last): 6 (Russia 2018)
- How qualified: AFC Third Round Group B runners-up 7W-1L-2D)
- Coach: Herve Renard (France) since July 2019
- Key players: Saleh Al Shehri (Al Hilal / Saudi Arabia), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal / Saudi Arabia), Salman Al Faraj (Al Hilal / Saudi Arabia)
Mexico extended their streak of appearing at every World Cup finals since 1994 by securing CONCACAF qualification as runners-up to Canada on goal difference in the final round.
El Tri has a roster that relies on individuals who feature in Europe and North America. Of those, Wolves striker Raul Jimenez and Houston Dynamo veteran Hector Herrera will both be heavily called upon to propel the World Cup bid. The loss of Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona to injury is, though, a significant blow.
Mexico don’t score or concede many goals — averaging just over one goal a game scored in their qualification bid — and they will hope that compact gameplan, devised by wily former Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino, can prove sufficient to stifle group opponents.
- Current FIFA world ranking: 13 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 1st (CONCACAF)
- World Cup titles:—
- World Cup appearances (last): 16 (Brazil 2018)
- How qualified: (CONCACAF qualifying runners-up: 7W-2L-4D
- Coach: Gerardo Martino (Argentina) since January 2019
- Key players: Raul Jimenez (Wolves / England), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo / USA), Hirving Lozano (Napoli / Italy)
Poland’s Robert Lewandowski won the battle of the talismans against Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic to book the Eastern Europeans a spot in the finals via the playoff route, following a 2-0 win. Poland had previously been given a bye straight through to the final match after first-round opponents Russia were banned by FIFA as a result of their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Their 34-year-old Barcelona striker aside, Poland’s roster consists of plenty of experienced performers who play domestically across Europe. Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski should supply valuable chances for Lewandoski to add to his superb international goal tally.
Czeslaw Michniewicz’s side claim an illustrious history at the World Cup — having twice finished third — and they will be confident of getting out of the group phase, after losing just twice through the entire qualification process.
- Current FIFA world ranking: 26 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 15th (UEFA)
- World Cup titles:—
- World Cup appearances (last): 8 (Russia 2018)
- How qualified: UEFA playoff winners: (2-0 vs. Sweden)
- Coach:Czeslaw Michniewicz (Poland) since January, 2022
- Star players: Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona / Spain), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli / Italy), Matty Cash (Aston Villa / England)
World Cup Group C odds and predictions
Here are the odds for each team to win and qualify from the group, with odds provided by Sports Interaction (correct as of Nov, 2022).
Minus odds is what must be wagered to win $100 on that specific bet, while plus odds represent the winnings from a successful $100 wager.
The first-place and second-place finishers in Group C will move on to the Round of 16 and will face off against the two teams to advance from Group D on Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4.
|Team||Group Winner||To Qualify|
The official FIFA 2022 World Cup match schedule outlines the following knockout pairings for the Round of 16 through to the final:
World Cup Round of 16
|Sat, Dec. 3||1A vs. 2B||6 p.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
|Sat, Dec. 3||1C vs. 2D||10 p.m.||Ahmad Bin Ali|
|Sun, Dec. 4||1D vs. 2C||6 p.m.||Al Thumama|
|Sun, Dec. 4||1B vs. 2A||10 p.m.||Al Bayt|
|Mon, Dec. 5||1E vs. 2F||6 p.m.||Al Janoub|
|Mon, Dec. 5||1G vs. 2H||10 p.m.||Stadium 974|
|Tues, Dec. 6||1F vs. 2E||6 p.m.||Education City|
|Tues, Dec. 6||1H vs. 2G||10 p.m.||Lusail|
World Cup Quarterfinals
|Fri, Dec. 9||QF1: 1E/2F vs. 1G/2H||6 p.m.||Education City|
|Fri, Dec. 9||QF2: 1A/2B vs. 1C/2D||10 p.m.||Lusail|
|Sat, Dec. 10||QF3: 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G||6 p.m.||Al Thumama|
|Sat, Dec. 10||QF4: 1B/2A vs. 1D/2C||10 p.m.||Al Bayt|
World Cup Semifinals
|Tues, Dec. 13||QF2 vs. QF1||10 p.m.||Lusail|
|Wed, Dec. 14||QF4 vs. QF3||10 p.m.||Al Bayt|
World Cup 3rd Place
|Sat, Dec. 17||Semifinal losers||6 p.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
World Cup Final
|Sun, Dec. 18||Semifinal winners||6 p.m.||Lusail|
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