In the opening encounter of Argentina’s matchup against Saudi Arabia in Group C of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, Lionel Messi will make his fifth and presumably final appearance.
The Albiceleste will need to perform well on the field in order to claim the top spot in the group, which also features Mexico and Poland. Messi has six goals in his World Cup history and helped Argentina reach 2014 final, where they lost to Germany in extra time thanks to the infamous Mario Gotze winner. They’ll be hoping to exact revenge on that loss and win the trophy this time. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, travels just a short distance to Qatar to take part in the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East. They won their Asian last-round qualification table, one point better than Japan. Argentina is performing at the top of its game as a result of an outstanding cycle under Lionel Scaloni’s leadership. The “Albiceleste” national team has already gone 36 games without suffering a loss thanks to a mature and resolute Lionel Messi serving as a leader on the field. In Abu Dhabi, they defeated the United Arab Emirates 5-0 in their final game before the World Cup.
Led by the astute Frenchman Hervé Renard, Saudi Arabia breezed through the Asian qualifying tournament, winning seven of their ten games to finish first in Group B, in front of none other than Japan and Australia. Since none of the players play in Europe, the team lacks major stars. Furthermore, they all perform in Asia.
It would be quite challenging for Asians to pull a surprise in this match because Argentina is self-assured and enters this opening game at the top of its game. The reigning Copa América champions will easily overcome Saudi Arabia in the opening game of Group C, tying Italy’s record of 37 unbeaten games.
Prediction: Argentina to win.
Poland vs Mexico 10am
France vs Australia 7pm
Denmark vs Tunisia 4pm