Pic: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports
The Mexico World Cup games will likely show that this side are no pushovers, and they might just fancy themselves to get through World Cup Group C and into the knockout rounds.
They have a roster with a number of players with experience in the major leagues, which will likely give them an edge over Saudi Arabia and keep them in with a chance when they take on Argentina and Poland. The doubts that hung over Gerardo Martino’s position on the bench didn’t help them through qualification though, and the coach’s position was anything but certain even after they booked their place in Qatar.
Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino. © Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Raul Jimenez is undeniably their star player, even though the forward hasn’t managed to get back to the levels he had been showing with Wolves in the Premier League prior to his serious head injury, and he’s the man to lead Mexico in the post-Chicharito Hernandez era.
Mexico’s results over the summer didn’t exactly spark inspiration, drawing with Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League, while their only two wins in their five games across May and June saw them beat Nigeria and Suriname. They lost 3-0 to Uruguay and also drew with Ecuador.
READ MORE: Mexico vs Argentina preview
READ MORE: Mexico vs Saudi Arabia preview
Mexico player to watch: Raul Jimenez
One man who can definitely make Mexico tick is Raul Jimenez. The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, while not in his best form in the first half of 2022, is dynamite in front of goal when he finds his shooting boots.
The clinical striker, who is still on the road to recovery after he suffered a devastating head injury, can be absolutely lethal in the final third of the pitch.
He bagged 13 and 17 goals respectively in back to back seasons after joining Wolves. And his ability to score a variety of goals proves just how dangerous he can be for Mexico.
After a difficult couple of seasons spent regaining his fitness and confidence on the football pitch, we expect Jimenez to find his form on the biggest stage of all when he pulls on his national team shirt this winter.
He might not be as prolific as his opposite number in the Poland team - Robert Lewandowski - but he has all the attributes to make a splash at the World Cup in Qatar.
Poland team overview
Poland have managed to establish themselves as regular participants and World Cups and European Championships in recent years, though without ever managing to take the step that so many would have backed them to take and become something of another Croatia in the latter stages of tournaments.
Their relatively recent appointment of Paulo Sousa threatened to derail a lot of good work of late, but the ex-Fiorentina boss was swiftly dismissed, and Czeslaw Michniewicz came in to pick up the pieces left behind by the Portuguese. He got them back on track and successfully led them to the World Cup, and he’ll hope that they continue to impress in Qatar.
The Poland World Cup games should show us their attacking threat, and they’re led by a superstar in Robert Lewandowski. Beyond the No.9, they have plenty to worry opponents in Krzysztof Piatek (above), Piotr Zielinski and Aston Villa’s Matty Cash as well.
At the back, though, Poland is anything but watertight and really struggle to keep opposing teams out, meaning that Lozano, Jimenez and co. might just be able to punish them in Mexico vs Poland.
Poland player to watch: Robert Lewandowski
Some nations inevitably have one player who stands head and shoulders above the rest of the team, however many good players they may have. That is the case with Poland and Robert Lewandowski is a superstar in a roster filled with high-level European players.
Although the summer has seen him dominate the headlines for reasons of uncertainty surrounding his future, with the Bayern Munich man doing all he can to force a move to join Barcelona, it can’t be forgotten just how lethal he is around the box.
Across all competitions last season, Lewandowski scored an incredible tally of 50 goals in just 46 appearances, and that’s not to mention the seven assists he added on top of that.
With that kind of form leading up to this winter’s tournament, each Poland World Cup game is likely to be decided by what he does on the day.
Mexico vs Poland free betting picks
Robert Lewandowski to score anytime
Both teams to score