Mexico v Poland
Mexico will look to continue the trend of being the nation to play in the most Round of 16 games in World Cup history, as they take on Robert Lewandowski and co. at the Stadium 974 on Tuesday afternoon.
Former Barcelona coach, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, is now in charge of the Mexico national team. However, he is facing tough scrutiny, with the number of positive results have dwindled in recent months. They have just 2 wins in their last 7 matches.
The draw is a difficult one for Martino’s men. It’s widely accepted that Mexico and Poland will have to settle for second place. They have been placed in the same group as Argentina. The opening match against Poland could be the pivotal moment so Mexico needs to put their poor run behind them and make a fast start. They were beaten 2-1 by Sweden in their final warm-up match. As expected Tata’s men enjoyed the lion share of possession, but they were able to fashion very few clear opportunities.
The biggest question mark concerning Poland National Team is the defence. It is still unclear whether they are going to play three or four in the back. In midfield a lot depends on Piotr Zieliński, being in top form at club level, who is now looked up to by the lion’s share of Polish fans. He will probably be supported by defensive-minded Krystian Bielik and Grzegorz Krychowiak, whose main role on the pitch will be stopping the Mexicans attacks and delivering the ball to Zieliński up front. The closer to the opponent’s goal, the bigger the expectations will be. As there is a place for Poland’s only superstar. The whole nation looks to Robert Lewandowski to deliver. The Poles’ all-time top scorer will enter his 2nd World Cup with high hopes for his first goals. And yet it will be extremely difficult to beat the Mexicans defenders and Ochoa in goal.
Tuesday’s match could get feisty after a tentative start. It’s an important game for both teams. The Mexicans in particular have players who are able to force fouls from the opposition. Expect Mexico to attempt to control possession. They will have to be wary of the threat posed by Robert Lewandowski. The incisive Poland striker could be the difference maker in a match that should be evenly contested.
A man who really needs no introduction, as Poland’s best player and top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski seems certain to have one shot on target against Mexico. New Barcelona striker has had a great season for his club so far and having scored 15 goals in the last two seasons for the national team, he is also ready to end his scoring drought at the World Cup stage.
Four years ago he averaged 3 shots on goal yet never scored. The former Bayern standout is averaging over 2 shots on target per game in La Liga this season, and will be supported by the talented 20 year old Nicola Zalewski. The Roma playmaker has two assists in just seven international caps, and is the perfect profile to help Lewandowski overcome this World Cup rut. A shot on target for Lewandowski looks generous at 1.25 to bolster any bet builder.
Poland have forced a lot of cards from their opponents in recent matches. Over the course of their last 5 games, their opponents are averaging 2.8 cards per game. 4 of the 3 teams they have played over that period have picked up at least 3 yellow cards. 6 of the 14 cards awarded in those 4 matches were given to players occupying the centre of the pitch.
Edson Alvarez is set to start as Mexico’s defensive midfielder. The PSV player has 5 yellow cards in 11 Eredivisie starts this season. He also picked up 3 cards for Mexico in qualifying; the most in the squad.
Despite Mexico’s recent slump in form, Alexis Vega has been a bright spark. He has scored 3 goals in the team’s last 5 matches. He plays his club football for Chivas in Mexico’s top flight so he will be little known to a European audience. However, he has many qualities that make him a significant threat.
Vega possesses blistering pace and he uses it to get at the opposition. The left winger is an adept finishing and he likes to cut inside and place the ball in the corner of the net with his favoured right foot. He also has a keen eye for goal and roams into the striker position when Mexico counter-attack. His average position in recent matches is far closer to the central striker than the touchline.
Alexis is also in contention to be on spot kicks for Mexico. He took the team’s most recent penalty against Iran. It’s unlikely Henry Martin will step up with Vega on the pitch, making him a good shout for a shot on target for the Mexicans at 1.57.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 6/1 Mexico v Poland Bet Builder. Here are the two possible outcomes:
* I recommend waiting for confirmed team line-ups before placing any bets *
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *