Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Group C match between Mexico and Poland at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
The match ends in a goalless draw. Poland will be disappointed though as it had a clear opportunity to get all three points after it was awarded a penalty in the second half. However, Mexican goalkeeper and the perennial World Cup star Ochoa made a stunning save to keep Lewandowski at bay. After the first round of fixtures in Group C, it is Saudi Arabia at the top with three points, Poland and Mexico joint-second with one point each and Argentina at the bottom with no points.
Last minute of stoppage time.
Lewandowski goes with the ball down the left wing, puts it in the middle, Krychowiak with a long ranger but it goes over the bar.
Antuna looks to break on the right wing but gets stopped in his tracks. Instead, it’s a Polish move, through ball from Lewandowski and Kaminski’s shot is caught cleanly by Ochoa.
Poland clears away the corner taken by Mexico. Seven minutes of stoppage time. Will either side find a winner?
Antuna earns a corner as he sees his cross from the right being blocked and sent behind.
There is a brief interruption as a clearance hits Glik smack in the face.
Substitutions coming thick and fast now. Milik comes on for Zielinski.
Mexico with a substitution. Antuna comes on for Vega.
Corner for Mexico as Cash saves a short from Gallardo. However, the subsequent corner kick is cleared away by Glik.
Krychowiak looks to send the cross in from the right, sees his shot blocked for a corner. Mexico avoids and danger from the corner and then goes for the break via Jimenez but he eventually finds himself with too much to do.
Vega with an audacious long-ranger but it keeps curling up and away.
Jimenez finds the ball on the right wing close to the Polish box. His effort is blocked and goes out for a Mexican throw-in.
Yellow card for Polish sub Frankowski.
The corner from Poland is cleared away by Jimenez. Final 15 minutes plus stoppage time left in this encounter. A draw between these two teams could actually help Argentina after a 1-2 shock loss to Saudi Arabia earlier in the day.
Poland with a quick counter-attack and the ball is cleared by Moreno for a corner.
Substitution for Poland too. Frankowski comes on for Szymanski.
And now the double change is made. Jimenez and Rodriguez come on for Martin and Herrera.
Mexico looking to make two substitutions but can’t since the ball is still in play. Frustrating for El Tri.
Mexico making more runs into the Polish half. Pressure on the men in white.
Long-range effort from Mexico, Henry Martin gets a deflection off his head and Szczesny is forced to make a save down to his left.
The tempo of the match has certainly increased in the second half.
Lewandowski has 76 international goals but as far as World Cups are concerned, his tally remains ZERO. Excellent work from the Mexican goalkeeper who has made it a habit to become the talking point of the showpiece event in the last decade.
VAR check completed. It’s a booking for Moreno and PENALTY TO POLAND. OCHOA SAVES!!!! Lewandowski goes for the bottom right corner and the Mexican goalkeeper saves it brilliantly.
Alvarez loses possession inside his own half. Poland looks to break. Moreno holds Lewandowski’s shirt and the Polish captain goes down. Mexico on the counter earns a free-kick. However, there is a VAR check for penalty for the challenge on Lewandowski.
Lozano with a long-range effort from the left but it’s an easy grab for Szczesny.
Lewandowski being marked tightly by the Mexicans. Lozano puts the ball inside the box, Vega wins the corner as his effort is blocked by the Polish defender.
Set piece for Poland. However, Zielinski sends the ball out for a Mexico goal-kick.
Foul on Lewandowski by Sanchez. The Mexican player needs to be careful as he has already been booked once.
First half was a tough one for Lewandowski as he received merely 16 passes and half of those were from Szczesny.
Second half begins. Mexico from right to left and Poland left to right. One change for the men in white. Bielik comes on for Zalewski.
Nothing to separate the two teams. It’s goalless at the halfway mark.
Final few seconds of the first half.
Lozano with the cross from the right wing but Cash heads the ball away.
Two minutes of added time.
Szczesny forced to make a save after a shot on target from the right by Sanchez. Corner for Mexico.
Lozano puts in the cross from the right, Vega with the volley but it is blocked by the Polish defender.
Another long pass finds Lozano on the right wing. Throw-in for Mexico as Poland clears the ball inside the box.
Vega with the long ball, looking for Lozano on the right but Bereszynski clears it away.
Short corner routine yet again from the men in green but nothing fruitful.
Chavez’ cross from the left beats everyone and finds Lozano on the right inside the box but before he could do anything, the Polish defense puts it behind for corner.
Foul by Krychowiak. Free kick for Mexico inside its own half.
Mexico has looked the more threatening side lately. Its fans are absolutely buzzing.
Patient move from the back for Mexico. Montes goes through the middle, Vega with a through ball but gets too much on it and Szczesny gets to the ball before the Mexican player inside the box.
Kiwior with an optimistic long ball but Ochoa gathers the ball without much fuss.
Free kick for Poland after the foul. However, nothing much comes off it as Mexico clears away the danger.
Foul on Szsymanski by Sanchez and the Mexican player receives a yellow card.
Mexico causing more trouble now. Long ball and Gallardo makes a fantastic run to get to it, Szczesny with the error leaves Gallardo with the chance to put the ball in but instead, he gets called out for handball.
Lozano with the through ball for Herrera down the right wing. Herrera with the cross for Vega whose header goes just wide off the far post.
No threat to either goal so far. Mexico with 44 percent possession, Poland 36 percent and 20 per cent when neither has been in control.
High foot from Martin on the edge of the Polish box hits Kiwior in the face.
Patient move from Poland and eventually the ball reaches Lewandowski on the edge of the Mexican box. However, the Polish forward goes down as the ball reaches Ochoa.
Short passes between Zalewski and Szymanski on the left wing before deciding to take the ball back into their own half.
Danger for Poland as Mexico gets the ball inside the box but eventually, Sanchez gets caught in the offside trap.
Sanchez loses possession inside the Polish half. Zielinski with the run on the left wing before putting the cross in for Lewandowski who can’t quite control the ball on the edge of the Mexico box.
Poland with a series of short passes to form a move inside the Mexican half. However, men in green take possession and break. Luckily for Poland, the ball goes out of play and the throw-in goes to Poland.
Handball from Glik inside the Mexican half.
Neither of the two goalkeepers have had much to do so far. Still, early stages.
Vega earns Mexico its first corner of the night. Short corner taken. Moreno with the header but it goes over the bar.
A hopeful cross from Gallardo from the left wing but it only proves to be catching practice for Polish keeper Szczesny.
The match resumes after both Glik and Montes come off to receive treatment before coming back on.
The corner kick finds the head of Lewandowski but his effort is deflected behind for another corner. Poland gets two more corners and there is a clash of heads between Glik and Montes.
Quick counter-attack from Poland and it earns a corner. Pressure on El Tri.
Mistake by the Polish defender and Lozano gets possession on the right wing. A quick cross from the veteran finds Vega at the far post but he is unable to control the ball and the Polish defence clears the danger.
Zalewski goes down near the Poland box after Lozano’s arm hits him in the face.
Foul on Chavez by Zielinski near the center-line.
Here we go. Mexico in green plays from left to right and Poland in white from right to left. Early free kick for Mexico in its own half courtesy of a foul by Kaminski.
9:30PM - KICKOFF!!!
9:23PM - The two teams make their way to the pitch. Live action shortly!
9:15PM - Tonight will be a special occasion for Polish defender Kamil Glik for various reasons. He will make his 100th appearance for the national side and will also be the oldest player to play for Poland in a World Cup at the age of 34 years 292 days.
9:10PM - On the other hand, Poland has won its World Cup opener only once in its eight appearances.
9:05PM - Mexico has not lost a World Cup opening match in its last six appearances. In all those six editions, it has made it past the group stage. This will be a challenge for Poland.
9PM - This will only be the second-ever meeting between Poland and Mexico in a World Cup. Back in 1978, Poland had beaten Mexico 3-1 in group stage.
8:55PM - Here’s something interesting about the venue of the match
The ‘974’ in Stadium 974 signifies Qatar’s international dialing code and is also the exact number of recycled shipping containers used to construct the arena, making it the first ever fully demountable stadium in the history of World Cups.
With a seating capacity of 40,000, the stadium is set to conduct six group-stage games and one round of 16 knockout fixture. The stadium was initially announced under the name Ras Abu Aboud Stadium.
The stadium was presented during a digital launch in November last year and held its inaugural game on the first day of the FIFA Arab Cup on November 30, 2021, when the United Arab Emirates played Syria.
After the World Cup, there is a possibility that the containers will be dismantled, transported, and rebuilt in Maldonado, Uruguay, to host matches for the 2030 FIFA World Cup if Uruguay’s bid is successful.
8:45PM - Mexican fans are ready to party!
8:30PM - LINEUPS!!!
Mexico (4-3-3): Ochoa (GK), Sánchez, Montes, Héctor Moreno, Gallardo, Héctor Herrera, Edson Álvarez, Chávez; Lozano, Henry Martin, Vega
Poland (5-3-2): Szczesny (GK), Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash, Kaminski, Krychowiak, Szymanski, Zielinski, Zalewski, Lewandowski
8:25PM - Head-to-head record: Mexico - 3, Poland - 3, Draws - 2
8:20PM - After a massive upset in the Group C opener earlier in the day with Saudi Arabia beating Argentina 2-1, the second match between Mexico and Poland will be watched evenly more closely. Will Robert Lewandowski finally score his first World Cup goal or will Mexico dominate the Poles? Live action from 9:30PM IST. Till then, stay tuned for all the pre-match build-up!
As Poland’s all-time leading scorer, Robert Lewandowski is still missing something from his collection: A goal at the World Cup.
That could change on Tuesday against Mexico, Poland’s opening opponent in Group C.
A prolific scorer who moved to Barcelona after a successful stint with Bayern Munich, Lewandowski has 18 goals in all competitions this season. For Poland, he’s scored 76 goals from 134 appearances.
At 34, the World Cup in Qatar may be Lewandowski’s last chance for a coveted goal in football’s biggest event.
Poland managed only two goals four years ago in Russia, from Jan Bednarek and Grzegorz Krychowiak, and the team was eliminated from the group stage with losses to Senegal and Colombia.
Poland, ranked No. 26 in the world, didn’t even make the 2010 or 2014 World Cups and the team hasn’t advanced to the knockout round since 1986. Poland’s best finish was third place in West Germany in 1974 and in Spain in 1982.
Lewandowski scored in the 2-0 playoff victory over Sweden in March, giving Poland a spot at the World Cup. He finished with nine goals in the qualification campaign.
Poland is coming off a 1-0 victory over Chile last week in a final warmup match before the opener against No. 13 Mexico at Stadium 974. While third-ranked Argentina is the favorite to win Group C, which also includes Saudi Arabia, Tuesday’s match could be a good indication of the second team that moves on to the knockout stage.
“This is an important game for us. It’s important that we show confidence. We know Mexico play high quality soccer, we know their potential. We’ll fight to win and we’ll do our best,” Lewandowski said in Doha last week. “They have a lot of quality and pace, and are dynamic. We’ll have to be ready to stop them causing us problems.”
Mexico has been beset by uncertainty and injuries. Coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino included Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez, who has been dogged by a groin injury but came off the bench in a 2-1 loss to Sweden last week. It was his first game since August.
“I look forward to Raúl’s ambition, hunger and desire to play, to be on the field, to contribute and help the team,” veteran Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said, disputing critics who would have left Jimenez off the team.
Although there were hopes Sevilla forward Jesus Corona could recover from a fractured fibula before the World Cup, he was ultimately left off Mexico’s final roster.
But there were a couple of other notable absences. Martino left off young forward Santi Gimenez, who plays for Dutch team Feyenoord, as well as Mexico’s all-time leading scorer, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who hasn’t played for his national team since 2019. Hernandez, who currently plays for LA Galaxy, had played in the last three World Cups.
Martino has faced criticism for both the team’s recent results and his roster decisions.
“The only thing that can change people’s opinion are the results and that’s what we’re going to play for,” he said following the loss to Sweden.
Mexico finished second in CONCACAF qualifying behind Canada — and ahead of the United States — but Martino’s team scored only four goals in its final five qualifying matches despite having both Jiménez and Corona available. El Tri went winless against Canada and the United States during the final round.
Four years ago in Russia, Mexico lost to Brazil 2-0 in the round of 16, making it the seventh straight time that the team has failed to reach the quarterfinals at football’s premier tournament. The failure to advance to the “quinto partido,” or fifth game, has dogged El Tri.
Mexico has reached the quarterfinals only twice, first in 1970 and again in 1986. Mexico hosted both of those tournaments. - AP