Australia vs Tunisia
Tunisia is seeking to advance from the group stage for the first time in its sixth World Cup appearance, while Australia has only reached the last 16 once — in 2006 — in five previous trips to football’s biggest event.
“There’s a bit more pressure because Australia have nothing to lose now. It’s like a final for them,” Tunisia defender Mohamed Dräger said. “We need to be ready like (Tuesday). With the same spirit and the same concentration we can achieve something.”
Both teams will have higher expectations, after Australia was beat 4-1 by defending champion France in its Group D opener.
All four of France’s goals came from attacks down the flanks, with three of them headed in.
“Conceding three goals from wide areas is obviously a very clear lesson for us to learn,” Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine said. “We obviously have to deal with the crosses better.”
France leads the group with three points, Tunisia and Denmark are next with one point each and Australia trails with none.
The match will start at 3:30 PM (IST)
Poland vs Saudi Arabia
First it was Lionel Messi. Next up, it’s Robert Lewandowski. The big-name opponents keep coming for Saudi Arabia.
After shocking Messi’s Argentina in one of the biggest World Cup upsets, the Green Falcons turn their attention to Lewandowski and his Poland team on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia, the second lowest-ranked team in the tournament, could even book its place in the second round with a win – a remarkable achievement for a side with no foreign-based players.
“We will work even harder than in the previous match,” midfielder Sami Al-Najei promised. “Everyone knows that the next match is more important than the previous one.” That “previous one” was Saudia Arabia’s 2-1 win over Argentina, one of the tournament favorites.
“It was an excellent match for us. We were able to show an excellent image for the Saudi Arabia national team,” Saleh Al-Shehri, one of the goal-scorers. “But it is just three points, we haven’t qualified yet.” Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari’s goals blew open Group C and left the other rivals scrambling for points after Mexico’s 0-0 draw with Poland.
The match will start at 6:30 PM (IST)
France vs Denmark
Olivier Giroud will overtake Thierry Henry to become France’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals if he scores against Denmark at the World Cup on Saturday. If Kylian Mbappe finds the net he will move level with another France great.
A victory against the Danes at Stadium 974 will also qualify Les Bleus for the knockout round, and as group winners if Tunisia and Australia draw in the other Group D game.
So there’s plenty to look forward to, although France captain Hugo Lloris is still striking a cautious note.
“If you look too far ahead in a competition that’s when you can stumble. There’s a big mountain for us to climb tomorrow,” Lloris said Friday. “It will be a battle; the fact the Danes drew against Tunisia means they need to win.”
The match will start at 9:30 PM (IST)
Argentina vs Mexico
Bottom of the table and no longer a favourite, Argentina’s life has dramatically changed since those five fateful second half minutes. The grudging appreciations about a 36-match unbeaten run have made way to murmurs of becoming the first top team to get knocked out of Qatar 2022. A loss here would be the end.
A goalless draw in the other Group C game, however, has left its qualification still away from the realms of probability. The motivation is not lacking and there’s a desire to reconstruct and offer some joy a day after omnipresent Diego Maradona’s second death anniversary.
“This is a very special day and as Argentinians we always think about him. He is an important person for the national team and a global icon and it’s a sad day for us. But we hope to bring some joy with our game tomorrow,” Lautaro Martinez, whose two strikes were ruled out for offside on Tuesday, said.
The match will start at 12:30 AM (IST) 27th November.