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Match previews for day three of 2022 FIFA World Cup as Groups C and D take centre stage, as France begin their title defence.
Group C promises to be a blockbuster with Argentina, Mexico and Poland all expected to fight for two knockout qualification spots, whilst Saudi Arabia will look to spring an early surprise in a group where many consider the Middle-Eastern team to be unfancied.
France meanwhile headlines Group D as the reigning champions prepare to face Australia in their opening match, whilst dark horses – Denmark face Tunisia in the first match of that group on a hectic day.
Now, here is a preview guide to all four matches on day three of 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Group C)
As one of the hot title favourites, Argentina certainly have a huge chance to lay down a statement of intent given their superior quality but they surprisingly weren’t at their best in 2018 but this is a much-changed squad so expectations will be high.
Saudi Arabia meanwhile qualified as one of the top-two Group B finishers in AFC Qualifying and boast a solid attack, yet I just feel like they will be the whipping boys of Group C here but hopefully they can come out and provide a decent battle.
This match though will be the first game to take place at 1pm AST local time in this tournament when the weather will be at its hottest, which could throw some surprises but a majority of players across both teams should be used to hotter conditions already at club level.
I though do expect this to be an one-sided game in what looks like the worst match of the Group Stage on paper.
Prediction: Argentina 4-0 Saudi Arabia
Denmark vs Tunisia (Group D)
After a brilliant run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 with entertaining balanced football plus unity, Denmark now need to summon the spirit of that tournament and bring it to the World Cup in a group where they should be favourites to advance.
Tunisia though won’t be pushovers as England and Belgium found out in 2018 but they now are a deep-sitting defensive-minded team, albeit with a hard-working midfield who will certainly be looking to make this as difficult as possible for the Danish.
Denmark though possess several in-form players from Joachim Andersen to Mathias Jensen to Andreas Skov Olsen plus others, who should definitely have enough within them to comfortably win this tie.
Prediction: Denmark 2-0 Tunisia
Mexico vs Poland (Group C)
With Argentina expected to comfortably beat Saudi Arabia, this match already feels like an early must-win for both Mexico and Poland who both will have Argentina to come in their next and final group match respectively.
Despite enjoying a high-pressing style in 4-3-3 formation with agressive use of their wingers, Mexico’s form though has been inconsistent and Raul Jimenenz in particular is a concern, having played just four games this season due to injury so has arrived short on match-fitness.
Poland meanwhile were embarrassed in 2018 in a group which they should of topped yet came rock-bottom in a tight group, but now are coming into the tournament after a sluggish UEFA Nations League campaign and constant tactical experimentation which isn’t ideal.
Robert Lewandowski though surely has to be a threat that Mexico must look to starve of service so tactics might well be vital, which is making me lean towards Mexico given their better tactical consistency coming into the tournament but it will nevertheless be close.
Prediction: Mexico 1-0 Poland
France vs Australia (Group D)
With an injury crisis which has seen key players like Presnel Kimpembe, N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema ruled out, France still have a star-studded squad with players like Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann leading their attack and title defence.
Australia though won’t be a team eager to roll over for the reigning champions and have the quality available to try and make this game as physical as possible, whilst deploying a high-press counter-attack which could ask questions of France’s slightly weakened midfield.
I though am struggling to see France losing this despite the curse on reigning champions in the last three World Cups tournaments, because they should eventually have too much for Australia unless ex Brighton goalkeeper – Matt Ryan puts in a strong performance in goal.
Prediction: France 2-1 Australia