Mexican national team defender Hector Moreno remains confident El Tri can qualify for the Round of 16, claiming the game against Poland will be the determining factor.
“I see it as key [the match against Poland] not because of the fact that Argentina is the best team or Saudi Arabia the worst, as many times they have tried to handle it, I see it as key simply because it is the first game,” he said to TUDN following Mexico’s 1-2 defeat against Sweden.
“Winning the first three points in the Group Phase is a great advantage and gives you a certain margin with a draw or hopefully with one more victory to qualify, the situation has arisen that you qualify with 4 points, it would be a great step towards qualifying.”
The team is coming off two telling friendlies, picking up a 4-0 victory against Iraq before losing to Sweden. Head coach Gerardo Martino cautioned the team after the last match, explaining that Poland are likely to adopt Sweden’s style: defensive, but lethal on set piece goals.
Mexico conceded the first goal against Sweden in a counterattack, before a successful corner sealed the 2-1 victory. Moreno maintained that with Robert Lewandowski on the pitch for Poland, Mexico cannot make those mistakes.
Episode 2 of 90min’s Real Futbol Show sees co-hosts Lizzy Becherano and Geno Gonello do a deep dive of the Mexican national team, analyzing the 26-player roster headed to Qatar, Gerardo Martino’s shocking omissions and the final friendly against Sweden. With their first game against Poland right around the corner, tune in for all El Tri related information.
“Hopefully we can achieve it, he is a very talented rival, they have focused a lot on Lewandowski, obviously because he is the star of the team and because of the great moment he is experiencing in Barcelona, but in general they have a very complete team with players in the big leagues.”
Mexico kicks off their 2022 World Cup campaign on Tuesday, November 22 against Poland, before taking on Group C opponents Argentina and Saudi Arabia.
Portugal vs Uruguay: Confirmed lineups
By defeating Uruguay in Lusail, Portugal will be hoping to advance to the World Cup’s last 16 in 2022.
During their first match, Cristiano Ronaldo and company defeated Ghana in a five-goal thriller, while Uruguay and South Korea drew 0-0.
Portugal XI: Diogo Costa, João Cancelo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, R. Guerreiro, Rúben Neves, William, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, João Félix, Ronaldo.
Croatia vs Belgium – World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction
Croatia face Belgium on Thursday afternoon in a meeting between two medallists from the 2018 World Cup.
Both sides may have reached the semi-finals in Russia but a passage to the round of 16 in Qatar is not certain for either nation heading into the final game of Group F.
Zlatko Dalic’s runners-up are better placed after victory against Canada took them to four points; a draw would send Croatia through. Belgium’s position is more precarious in the wake of a limp loss to Morocco.
Roberto Martinez’s side could theoretically qualify with one more point but only if winless Canada defeat Morocco by four or more goals in the other group game. A win would confirm Belgium’s qualification and leave Croatia sweating over Morocco’s result.
Here’s everything you need to know about a devilishly poised encounter.
Croatia vs Belgium H2H Results (All Time)
Current Form (Last Five Games)
Croatia team news
Nikola Vlasic started Croatia’s opener against Morocco but was removed with a calf problem at half-time. The West Ham loanee recovered to make the bench against Canada but his replacement, Marko Livaja, delivered a strong argument to retain his starting berth with a crisply struck goal.
The arrival of a traditional striker shifted Andrej Kramaric to the right wing, where he scored twice on Sunday afternoon.
Croatia Starting 11 (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic.
Bench: Grbic, Ivusic, Erlic, Vida, Sutalo, Barisic, Stanisic, Jakic, Sucic, Majer, Osric, Pasalic, Petkovic, Budimir, Vlasic.
Belgium team news
Romelu Lukaku was deemed fit enough to come on for the final ten minutes of Belgium’s surprise defeat to Morocco. The Inter striker hasn’t started a match for club or country since August and may still be short of the fitness required to lead the line. However, with another four days to continue his recovery, Lukaku could make a longer cameo at least.
Amadou Onana will play no part after collecting a second, suspension-inducing booking against the Atlas Lions.
Belgium Starting 11 (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Castagne; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Trossard; De Bruyne, E Hazard; Batshuayi.
Bench: Casteels, Mignolet, Debast, Faes, Theate, Dendoncker, Vanaken, De Ketelaere, T Hazard, Carrasco, Doku, Lukaku, Mertens, Openda.
There are a lot of familiar faces in both squads from the podium finishes in 2018 but Belgium seem to be anchored more firmly in the past. Ten players that featured in their semi-final defeat to France four-and-a-half years ago have already appeared this winter.
Kevin De Bruyne’s pre-tournament admission that his nation has “no chance” of winning the World Cup because “we’re too old” has been painfully apparent in a pair of listless performances.
Martinez pledged: “We will play to win against Croatia and that will be the start of us at this World Cup.” However, if they produce the same lumbering display on Thursday, it will be the end of Belgium at this World Cup.
Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Belgium
Jack Grealish heaps praise on USMNT following England draw
England midfielder Jack Grealish has hit back at suggestions his side underperformed in their 0-0 draw with the United States, calling for the Americans to be given more credit for the result.
Despite heading in as strong favorites, the Three Lions were never going to find it easy against a USMNT side packed with talent playing in the Uefa Champions League and across Europe’s top five divisions.
Indeed, the Stars and Stripes dominated large stretches of the match and were unlucky not to take the lead as Weston McKennie missed a good chance inside the box and Christian Pulisic hit the crossbar from distance.
The post-match reaction from large sections of England supporters and pundits was one of anger and frustration but Grealish has hit back, crediting the USMNT for a strong performance and talking up the Three Lions’ position at the tournament.
“We are in a strong position. Obviously, top of the group and it’s all in our hands going into the final game,” Grealish told talkSPORT ahead of the final round of Group B matches on Tuesday. “It’s weird sometimes playing for the national team because you have one result like that and it’s as if it is the end of the world – and it’s clearly not.
“I felt like a lot of it was about us. England were this, England were that but at the end of the day, they played very well. They was a team that had a lot of energy, very athletic in all the positions, and we have to give them credit for the way they played.
“They changed their tactics up, the way pressed and stuff, from the first game. We know we can play better and we will certainly look to be doing that going into the second game.
“I think there was a big overreaction. Apart from Spain being the top tournament scorers, we’re the top scorers in the tournament. I can’t think off the top of my head if anyone has scored more than six.
“Against Iran we were the best thing since sliced bread, scoring six goals, and then we go a game without scoring and there was a bit of an overreaction. But I suppose that it what you get sometimes playing for England.”
The USMNT currently sit third in Group B but will still qualify for the knockout rounds if they beat Iran on Tuesday. A five-goal victory coupled with an England defeat to Wales would see Gregg Berhalter’s side top the standings.
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