Poland v Saudi Arabia
Poland will be kicking themselves for getting no more than a goalless draw out of their opening game against Mexico, and no-one more so than legendary striker Robert Lewandowski who missed a great chance to break his World Cup finals duck when he failed to convert a second-half penalty. Poland have not progressed from a World Cup group since 1986, and, with a wounded Argentina still to come, they know that nothing but a win will do against the bubbling Saudis if they are to buck that trend.
Saudi Arabia caused the first major shock of the tournament, and indeed Tuesday’s 2-1 comeback win against Argentina caused a seismic wave across the tournament. Riding their luck with a high back line that was occasionally exposed in the first half, Saudi Arabia went in at half-time only one goal down to a Lionel Messi penalty. Two quick Saudi goals just after the break turned the game on its head, and although there was some back-to-the-wall defending at times, the Middle East nation were good value for their historic win.
It will be interesting to see if Saudi Arabia employ the same high defensive line as they did against Argentina, and whether their luck will hold if they do. A second win is likely to secure them a spot in the knockout phase, but Poland, and Lewandowski in particular, will be looking for an improved performance to keep Polish hopes alive.
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