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Lionel Messi and Argentina look to revive World Cup campaign | CNN


All eyes will be on Lionel Messi and his Argentina side on Saturday as they look turn around a dreadful start to the World Cup.

La Albiceleste were humiliated when they threw away the lead to lose 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opening Group G match at the World Cup.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has yet to lift the World Cup trophy, didn’t hide from the embarrassment of Argentina’s defeat.

When asked about the team’s morale Messi replied: “Dead.”

It is not the first time that Argentina have lost their opening game unexpectedly.

In 1990, Argentina was on the receiving end of the one of the greatest shocks in World Cup history, losing to Cameroon.

However Argentina recovered to reach the final, before losing to West Germany.

If Argentina is to emulate that 1990 run, La Albiceleste will have to get past a stubborn Mexico, led by World Cup icon Guillermo Ochoa.

The Mexican keeper rose to fame over the last two World Cups, winning the Man of the Match award twice in 2014 with his superb shot-stopping.

Ochoa added to his mythic status this tournament when he saved a penalty from Robert Lewandowski in Mexico’s 0-0 draw with Poland.

Because Mexico and Poland drew, it is not quite do-or-die yet for Messi and Argentina, but they cannot afford to lose again if they want to progress from the group.

Can Saudi Arabia follow up on their historic win?

Having beaten Argentina, Saudi Arabia has become the story of the tournament.

The Green Falcons caused the biggest upset in the history of the World Cup by beating Argentina and after footage emerged of coach Hervé Renard’s impassioned half-time speech, they have become a surprise fan-favorite at the competition.

The Saudis beat the biggest team in the group, but the job is certainly not done.

Without injured midfielder Yasser Al-Shahrani their task will be much harder against a Poland side knowing it needs to pick up points, especially with a fixture against Argentina still to come

Guillermo Ochoa is at his fifth World Cup with Mexico.

Poland themselves are desperate to make it out of the group, not least because that hasn’t happened since 1986.

No one wants that more than Robert Lewandowski. The striker will go down as one of the greatest goalscorers of his generation and is already both Poland’s most capped player and top scorer with 76 goals.

However, the Barcelona forward has remarkably never scored a World Cup goal. He played in all three games in Russia 2018 but struggled as the team ended bottom of their group.

He had a perfect chance to score in Poland’s opening Group G game against Mexico, but failed to convert his penalty.

Group D

France take on Euro 2020 semifinalist Denmark in the most intriguing encounter of the day.

After a sluggish start against Australia, France moved through the gears to thrash the Socceroos as Olivier Giroud equaled Thierry Henry’s record as the all-time top scorer for Le Bleu.

Questions hung over France before its campaign due to a number of with injuries, but Les Bleus quickly dispelled any anxiety as Kylian Mbappé and co. were at their terrific best.

Denmark won’t be a pushover, having already beaten France home and away in 2022.

Olivier Giroud is one goal away from becoming France's all-time record goal scorer.

The Danes, led by a fit-again Christian Eriksen, are touted by many as “dark horses” for the World Cup. But the team struggled against Tunisia despite coming inches wide from winning when Andreas Cornelius managed to miss the ball when he had a tap-in.

Saturday’s first match is between Tunisia and Australia.

The Socceroos got off to a terrific start against France taking the lead, before falling apart against the world champion.

And they will back themselves to get a win against Tunisia in a match where both teams need victory if they want to make it out of the group.

Day seven fixtures

Tunisia vs. Australia: 5 a.m. ET

Poland vs. Saudi Arabia: 8 a.m. ET

France vs. Denmark: 11 a.m. ET

Argentina vs. Mexico: 2 p.m. ET

How to watch

US: Fox Sports


Australia: SBS

Brazil: SportTV

Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom

Canada: Bell Media

South Africa: SABC


November 2022