World Cup 2022: Poland vs Saudi Arabia match preview

Saudis are hoping for another win, which will guarantee them a place in the second round of the competition.

Saudi team celebrates after winning 1-2 in Argentina v Saudi Arabia, Group C, at Lusail stadium, FIFA World Cup 2022. November 22, Doha, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Saudi Arabia caused one of the biggest shocks in FIFA World Cup history by beating one of the favourites, Argentina, 2-1 [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Who: Poland vs Saudi Arabia, Group C

Where: Education City Stadium, Doha

When: Saturday, November 26, 4pm (13:00 GMT)

FIFA ranking: Poland (26), Saudi Arabia (51)

Head-to-head record: 4 (Poland won all 4 matches)

Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons will be hoping to reach new heights when they lock horns with Poland on Saturday at Education City Stadium.

The Green Falcons caused a seismic shock across the footballing world when they beat one of the tournament’s favourites, Argentina, who were led by seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.

Tuesday’s historic upset led Saudi King Salman to announce a snap public holiday for workers in the public and private sectors, as well as students in the kingdom, in celebration of the win.

Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 victory against the reigning COPA America champions and third-ranked team in the FIFA standings is among the biggest shock results in the 92-year-old history of the competition.

Before Tuesday’s historic win, Saudi Arabia, ranked 51, had only recorded three wins at a World Cup. It was also the first time that the Green Falcons won their opening match at the world’s biggest footballing spectacle.

The confidence-boosting win may provide the required boost for the team to extend their hot streak when they meet the Poles. But the team’s French coach Herve Renard has called on his players to remain focused on the task ahead.

“Our celebrations in the dressing room lasted only 20 minutes or less,” Renard told reporters after the match.

“We have two more games and we have to concentrate on those. The players have worked very hard and always maintained good team spirit, never complaining. Now they just need to keep their feet on the ground,” he added.

Ahead of them stands Poland and Barcelona’s goal-poacher Robert Lewandowski – the 2020 FIFA Men’s Player of the Year.

Team captain and talisman, Lewandowski missed a penalty in the team’s first match against Mexico which ended in a nil-nil draw. If the Red and White are to progress, Lewandowski, who has more than 600 career goals for club and country, needs to find his scoring touch again.

If they are to progress from the group, which also includes South American heavyweights Argentina, the Poles will need a positive result this time.

Source: Al Jazeera