Lionel Messi to lock horns with Robert Lewandowski in World Cup swansong | Soccer Information

PARIS: Lionel Messi is aware of he has one final shot at profitable the World Cup with Argentina, who will arrive in Qatar unbeaten in 35 matches after a formidable qualifying marketing campaign and final 12 months’s Copa America triumph in Brazil.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is about to grace his fifth and last World Cup, 4 years on from Argentina’s turbulent marketing campaign in Russia which ended within the final 16.
Lionel Scaloni, an assistant to Jorge Sampaoli in 2018, has since taken excessive job and fostered real perception Argentina can win a 3rd World Cup that narrowly eluded them after an extra-time defeat by Germany within the last eight years in the past.
“We are keen, we’re going to battle, we’re not afraid of anybody as a result of we’re able to play towards anybody,” Messi instructed Directv Sports final month.
“I believe the primary recreation is essential as a result of beginning with a win provides you peace of thoughts.”
Argentina had been held to a 1-1 draw by debutants Iceland as Messi missed a penalty of their opening match in Russia, setting the tone for a disastrous match.
They shall be closely favoured to prime Group C forward of Mexico and Poland. Their first recreation is towards Saudi Arabia — led by two-time Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach Herve Renard — who’re decided to not merely make up the numbers.
Reaching the knockout section has not been a problem for Mexico, who surprised then holders Germany within the first spherical in Russia solely to run into Brazil and undergo their seventh successive last-16 exit.
Veteran midfielder Andres Guardado is about to hitch Messi by showing at a fifth World Cup. His finals debut got here in a last-16 loss to Argentina within the 2006 version and he shares the report for many Mexico caps with 177 alongside the legendary Claudio Suarez.
Mexico had been once more knocked out on the identical stage by the identical opponents 4 years later, however El Tri will hope with the perception of Gerardo Martino, the previous Argentina and Barcelona coach, they will overcome what has change into an all too acquainted impediment.
For a participant who has despatched goalscoring data tumbling, Robert Lewandowski has but to make his mark at a World Cup, and stays undoubtedly the important thing to Poland’s future.
The 34-year-old scored 9 instances in as many outings as Poland punched their ticket to Qatar, taking his haul to 25 targets in 19 video games throughout the final two World Cup qualifying campaigns.
Poland bowed out meekly within the group stage in 2018 and it stays a sore level for Lewandowski. “That was one of many largest disappointments of my profession,” he instructed the FIFA web site. “I did not have any possibilities, I did not rating a single aim and that also hurts.”
The Barcelona ahead, Poland’s captain and all-time prime scorer, must lead from the entrance if his nation is to make the knockout section for the primary time since 1986.
Lewandowski, who was controversially overwhelmed to final 12 months’s Ballon d’Or by Messi, eagerly awaits the possibility to face the Argentine, and maybe finish his World Cup desires as soon as and for all.
“With an absolute legend like Leo Messi as their figurehead, there is not any doubt that’ll be our hardest match. It’ll be nice to tackle such an excellent aspect with such gifted gamers,” he stated.