With Group A opening the World Cup’s first festive tournament on November 2srcth when Qatar meet Ecuador in Al Khor, the rest of world football’s elite will have to wait a little while longer before they get their own adventures underway.
Although the likes of France might be desperate to reclaim their World Cup crown this winter, many will have one eye on Group C and a legitimate South American icon who are riding quite the wave of momentum.
Watching Argentina breeze their way to Qatar and only continuing on a remarkable purple patch, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia will know that they face a monumental task if they’re to find a way past the former world champions.
With a history-making tournament from the Middle East just around the corner, we have taken a glance at some of the major Group C talking points and who we think will come out on top.
Is this finally Argentina’s time?
Although Argentina might have been disappointed after being dumped out in the Round of 16 four years ago, the South American icons have enjoyed a remarkable run of form over recent times.
Breezing their way to Qatar and unbeaten in each of their 17 qualifying appearances, Lionel Scaloni’s star-studded squad certainly have their sights set on making real history this year.
Priced at 2/5 with 888sport to claim top spot in Group C and tipped among the leading contenders to lift a first world crown since 1986, Argentina are also in the midst of a record-breaking flurry.
Including lifting the Finalissima title on June 1st thanks to a 3-src victory against reigning European champions Italy, La Albiceleste are enjoying a stellar 35-match unbeaten run across all competitions – a run that stems all the way back to July 2src19.
Desperate to hand attacking legend and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi the chance to finally get his hands on a maiden world title, there are few nations at this year’s tournament that will be relishing a showdown with Scaloni’s high-flying squad.
Polish dreams rest on Robert Lewandowski
Although Poland might have eventually punched their World Cup ticket thanks to a 2-src victory against Sweden back in March, the Eagles travel out to Qatar in the midst of a recent rut.
While Czesław Michniewicz’s side might have signed off their Nations League adventure with a hard-fought 1-src win against Wales on foreign soil, that is the only competitive victory that Poland have collected from their last five attempts.
However, priced at 1/1 with Betfair to find a route to the knockout stage of a World Cup finals for the first time since 1986, there is no doubt that a certain Robert Lewandowski will have to play a crucial role in Qatar.
Although Spanish giants Barcelona might have publically came crashing out of the Champions League this season, the Polish record-breaker has enjoyed another free-scoring run since arriving in Catalonia.
Already mustering 18 goals across all competitions since opening the 2src22/23 campaign, the ex-Bayern Munich striker knows that he will have the weight of a nation on his bank this winter.
Can Mexico break their Round of 16 curse?
Although Mexico might have found a route to Qatar without breaking too much of a sweat, it is fair to say that the Tricolor are still trying to fully find their feet under former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino.
Suffering Gold Cup heartbreak following a stunning last-gasp defeat against the USA last year, Mexico will be desperate to lay down an early marker when they open their Middle Eastern adventure with a crucial showdown against Poland on November 22nd.
Opening their winter run priced at 1src/11 with Unibet to edge out Poland in the race for a silver medal finish, the Greens should be boosted by what is an eye-catching record of reaching the knockout stage.
Managing to clinch yet another Round of 16 spot after holding off European giants Germany four years ago, it should be noted that Mexico have now reached the Round of 16 in each of their last seven World Cup appearances.
However, failing to put their name in the quarter-final draw since way back in 1986, Martino’s squad will be hoping to finally clear that hurdle.
Who will win Group C?
Although both Mexico and Poland might be dreaming of a silver medal finish in Group C this year, it is extremely hard to make any argument that Argentina will not breeze their way to the knockout stage.
With many feeling that the former world champions have been handed a favourable route to the later stages, La Albiceleste open the World Cup’s first winter tournament with the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.
Clearly enjoying life under Scaloni and enjoying an unbeaten run that stems all the way back to July 2src19, Argentina will simply be looking to avoid a major Group C banana skin in the Middle East.
Looking to hand Messi the chance to really put the cherry on top of his iconic career this winter and claim a first world crown, the South American giants are certainly worth keeping a firm eye on over the next month.
Prediction: Argentina to win Group C – 2/5 with 888sport