Lionel Messi captains Argentina against Poland in their Group C decider as the teams are announced… with Cristian Romero and Enzo Fernandez also starting
Lionel Messi captains Argentina in their crunch clash against Poland this evening, again starting up top alongside Julian Alvarez and Angel Di Maria in a devastating attacking trident.
Argentina take on Poland in an all-important final Group C encounter, with both sides battling it out for a place in the knockouts in a group where all four teams can still go through.
Lionel Scaloni’s side are currently second in Group C, having bounced back from their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia by beating Mexico 2-0 last time out. Poland, meanwhile, currently top the group.
Lionel Messi captains Argentina in their crunch clash against Poland in the Group C decider
Lionel Scaloni has been forced to name his strongest XI once more with Group C hanging in the balance
Scaloni may previously have mapped out the clash against Poland as a perfect opportunity to rest his players ahead of the knockout stages, but the loss against Saudi Arabia has meant no such opportunity is available.
The coach has opted for Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero – who was dropped for their clash against Mexico – in favour of Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez. He’ll partner Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of their defence.
Emiliano Martinez again starts between the sticks, and he’ll have the unenviable job of keeping a clean sheet against Robert Lewandowski, who scored his first-ever World Cup goal in Poland’s 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Enzo Fernández makes his first start of the competition after scoring a thumping effort for his side in their 2-0 win over Mexico last match.
Confirmed Argentina XI: Martínez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuña; De Paul, Fernández, Mac Allister; Messi, Álvarez, Di María
Confirmed Poland XI: Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash; Frankowski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Zielinski; Swiderski; Lewandowski
Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez starts in goal for their crucial group stage clash with Poland
Enzo Fernandez will make his first start of the competition after scoring against Mexico
Tottenham’s Cristian Romero has been re-instated at the heart of Argentina’s defence
Robert Lewandowski will be looking to build on his first ever World Cup goal scored recently
Messi was the star of the show as Argentina claimed a pivotal 2-0 win over Mexico to keep their hopes of reaching the knockouts alive, and the 35-year-old will be needed to be at his best once more today.
Argentina already know that in topping Group C, they would avoid France in the last 16, instead taking on Australia – the Group D runners-up – on Saturday, December 3 at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, with kick-off at 7pm.
Should Argentina finish as Group C runners-up, however, they will come up against Les Bleus on Sunday, December 4 at the Al Thumama Stadium, with kick-off at 3pm.
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