World Cup 2022, Day 3: The schedule, key players, what to expect

What’s in store for Argentina vs Saudi Arabia, Denmark vs Tunisia, Mexico vs Poland, and France vs Australia in Qatar.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - United States v Wales - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar - November 21, 2022 Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goal as Matt Turner of the U.S. reacts REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goal against the USA at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar on November 21, 2022 [File: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]

Four games are scheduled on day three – Tuesday, November 22 – of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Schedule:

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Group C): 1pm (10:00 GMT), Lusail Iconic Stadium

Denmark vs Tunisia (Group D): 4pm (13:00 GMT), Education City Stadium

Mexico vs Poland (Group C): 7pm (16:00 GMT), Stadium 974

France vs Australia (Group d): 10pm (19:00 GMT), Al Janoub Stadium

What to expect:

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia

  • Argentina, ranked 3rd overall and powered by their captain Lionel Messi – who is playing in his fifth World Cup – are heavily favoured over the young Saudi Arabian squad, who are ranked 51st.
Argentina's Lionel Messi
Argentina’s Messi during training at Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE in November 2022 [Amr Alfiky/Reuters]


Players to watch:

  • All eyes are on Messi, who triggered alarm this week after skipping a scheduled team training due to “muscle overload”. The 35-year-old, who has made it known that this World Cup will be his last, reassured fans on Monday that was feeling “very good physically” and was looking forward to the match against Saudi Arabia.
  • “I think I’m in a great moment, both personally and physically and I don’t have any problems,” Messi said at a press briefing.
  • Messi appeared to be revelling in the frenzied World Cup atmosphere in Qatar, which is home to thousands of Argentina fans.
  • Messi is the third-highest international goal-scorer in football history – behind Ali Daei and Cristiano Ronaldo – and has racked up an astounding 91 international goals in his career.

  • Saudi Arabia’s 19-year-old Firas Al-Buraikan, playing in his first World Cup, enters the 2022 World Cup with 11 goals.
  • Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard said his team is eager to start the tournament after fighting for the last two years to reach the finals.
  • “We enjoyed a good preparation period and all the players Benefitted from it. We look forward to presenting an honourable performance for Saudi Arabia,” he said on Monday.
  • Saudi midfielder Abdulelah Al-Malki said: “We are not coming to the World Cup to just be in it. We are here to produce our best and make Saudi proud.”
  • Saudi Arabia have never won their first game in a World Cup since they took part for the first time in 1994. Their best result was a 2-2 draw to Tunisia in 2006.
Saudi football
Saudi Arabia players pose for a team group photo before the match against Australia in King Abdullah Sport City Stadium, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in March 2022 [File: Ahmed Yosri/Reuters]


Denmark vs Tunisia

  • Denmark, buoyed by solid outings at Euro 2020 and the Nations League, scored an impressive 30 goals, winning nine games in their World Cup qualifying campaign on the road to Qatar.
  • Tunisia, who were nearly removed from the 2022 World Cup over alleged government interference, are hoping to advance from the group stage for the first time, and, in their fifth World Cup.
  • The two teams have not competed against one another at the World Cup. The Scandinavians did, however, topple Tunisia – known to their fans as the Carthage Eagles – 2-1 during an exhibition match in 2002.
    Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Semi Final - England v Denmark - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 7, 2021 Denmark's Simon Kjaer in action with England's Harry Kane Pool via REUTERS/Frank Augstein
    Denmark’s Simon Kjaer, right, in action with England’s Harry Kane at Wembley Stadium, London, UK in 2021 [Frank Augstein/pool via Reuters]

Players to watch:

  • Manchester United midfield superstar Christian Eriksen, who will be marking his fourth World Cup appearance despite suffering a cardiac arrest last June during a Euro 2020 match
  • Tunisia will rely upon the effective – and experienced – attacking line trio of Wahbi Khazri, Naim Sliti and Youssef Msakni to boost the North African squad’s dismal 2-9 World Cup record.
    Tunisia football players
    Tunisia’s midfielder Ellyes Skhiri, left, and midfielder Hannibal Mejbri, right, train at Al Egla facility in Doha on November 19, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup [Miguel Medina/AFP]

Mexico vs Poland 

  • Mexico’s road to the World Cup has been turbulent. The scrappy team, playing in their 16th World Cup, finished second in the eight-team qualifiers behind Canada on goal difference. The Mexican team have never advanced past the quarter-finals.
  • Poland, meanwhile, has not escaped their group stage since 1982. The team is now looking to redeem itself after disappointing opening consecutive losses at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
  • This match, marking the third time the Mexican and Polish teams have met, will be crucial in determining who makes it out of Group C.
Mexico football team
Mexico players pose for a team photo in San Salvador, El Salvador, in October 2021 [Jose Cabezas/Reuters]


Players to watch:

  • Poland’s offence is spearheaded by Bayern Munich striker and FIFA’s men’s player of the year Robert Lewandowski.
  • Look out for an incredible save or two from Mexican goalkeeper and World Cup cult hero Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, who is set to play in his third World Cup.
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Poland Training - Al Kharaitiyat SC Training Facilities, Umm Salal, Qatar - November 18, 2022 Poland's Robert Lewandowski in action during training REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari
Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in action during training at Al Kharaitiyat SC Training Facilities, Umm Salal, Qatar on November 18, 2022 [Ibraheem Al Omari/Reuters]

France vs Australia

  • France, looking to defend its second World Cup title, after coasting past Croatia in Russia in 2018, heads to Qatar as a fan favourite expected to make the semi-finals, if not the final. The heavy-hitting French squad is projected to glide through Group D with ease.
  • The young and hungry Australian team, playing in their fifth consecutive World Cup, face an uphill battle as they look to advance from the group stage for the first time under the guidance of manager Graham Arnold.
Australia's Martin Boyle, left, and New Zealand's Liberato Cacace compete for a high ball during a friendly soccer international in Brisbane, Australia, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Dan Peled)
Australia’s Martin Boyle, left, and New Zealand’s Liberato Cacace, right, compete for a high ball during a friendly football international in Brisbane, Australia, in September 2022 [Dan Peled/AP]


Players to watch:

  • The pressure is now on the ever-lethal Frenchman Kylian Mbappe, who guided France to a Nation’s League title last year after Les Bleus suffered a string of problematic injuries.
  • Notably, France was dealt a major blow on Saturday when Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema tore a muscle in his left thigh while training. Starters N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba are also noticeably absent from the team’s 2022 lineup due to injuries.
  • But Benzema’s last-minute withdrawal could actually be a blessing in disguise as Mbappe is now expected to be paired with his favoured attacking partner, Olivier Giroud.
Benjamin Pavard
France’s Benjamin Pavard celebrates scoring a second goal with Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi against Argentina in Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia in 2018 [File: Pilar Olivares/Reuters]
  • Mbappe and Benzema have brilliantly combined at times but Mbappe has said that Giroud’s style of play probably suited him better. Look out for Ajdin Hrustic, who seems to have overcome an earlier injury, and may add a spark to Australia’s offence.

Go Deeper:

  • View the full 2022 World Cup schedule here and be sure to visit Al Jazeera’s AI match predictor to see how your team is projected to perform in Qatar.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies