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Poland were left frustrated after their first World Cup match against Mexico (0-0) after their star striker Robert Lewandowski failed to capitalize on a penalty kick in the second half.
Their match came after a shock Argentinean defeat to Saudi Arabia, with the Arab nation now at the top of the group. Poland will face Saudi Arabia next on Saturday, and they understand that their opponent will look to secure the playoffs stage with another positive display.
“Of course, I was surprised by the Argentina defeat. But, there are a lot of surprises this year at the World Cup, so you have to be ready for everything. We are looking forward to our next game against Saudi Arabia. Understandably this will be a very tough match for us, but we also have to prove that we can handle the pressure.”
Lewandowski is playing at his second World Cup and he is still searching for his first goal after four matches played. The penalty kick against Mexico was his best chance yet, but he failed. Four years ago, Poland finished bottom of their group with Lewandowski without a goal.
Saudi Arabia will give him another chance to finally make his mark at the World Cup which will probably be his last one. He will be 38 years old when the World Cup occurs in 2026.
Some would say that Lewandowski needs help from his teammates who are all looking for their best player to get goals. But, as we saw four years ago, Lewandowski can’t do it alone, especially now at 34 years of age. He is superb this season with Barcelona, but playing with Poland is a different situation. Lewandowski is the main focal point of Poland’s opponent’s tactics, and it is hard for him to get enough chances to score.
Argentina looking for redemption
Poland is now even more disappointed because they would be halfway to securing their place in the first playoff round if Lewandowski took his advantage versus Mexico. However, they are still very much in play, as many pundits have doubts about whether Saudi Arabia can make another shock win at the Qatar tournament. There is no doubt that Poland will not underestimate the Saudis, and will feel enough confidence to get the job done because the alternative is not what they even think about.
The Saudis were dominated by Argentina and had only two shots toward their opponent’s goal, and both of them went into the net. They fought hard to stay firm in the back line and managed to further frustrate the Argentinians who had two goals disallowed for offside in the second half.
Argentina will face Mexico next and it will be a do-or-die game for Lionel Messi and his teammates. Messi is playing at his final World Cup, so this is his last chance to bring the title to his country. However, many are wondering whether Argentina has the mental stamina to fight the ever-increasing pressure to win against both Mexico and Poland who have more experienced squads than Saudi Arabia.