It’s day three of the World Cup and it’s time for Argentina, France, Mexico and Denmark to strut their stuff in the biggest tournament on earth.
Monday’s action saw England lay down a marker with a six-goal haul against Iran, and Gareth Bale step up to the plate once more to guide Wales to a draw with the United States.
It’s now over to Lionel Messi and his final attempt to win the World Cup with Argentina – they kick off the day’s action against Saudi Arabia.
Denmark and Tunisia follow in Group D, Mexico and Poland then square off in Group C’s other game, before France round off the day against Australia – the team they faced in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup.
0′ – Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez spearhead Argentina’s attack, while there’s a start in defence for Tottenham’s Cristian Romero. Saudi Arabia’s chief threats are Saleh Al Shehri, who has 10 goals in 20 international appearances, and Salem Al-Dawsari.
0′ – LINEUPS CONFIRMED!
Argentina face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning in the first match for one of the World Cup’s favourites.
Lionel Scaloni’s side are unbeaten in competitive matches since losing to Brazil in the semi-final of the 2019 Copa America. Argentina were crowned champions of South America in 2021 and come into the competition without the familiar maelstrom of unease which has accompanied their recent World Cup appearances.
Saudi Arabia don’t boast quite the same lofty billing. The Green Falcons are the second-lowest-ranked nation at the World Cup (51st).
Prediction: Argentina 3-0 Saudi Arabia
Perennial World Cup dark horses Denmark face a far less fancied Tunisia in their opening group game on Tuesday lunchtime.
Denmark were imperious during World Cup qualification, securing their place in Qatar after eight games, eight wins and zero goals conceded. Tunisia defeated Mali by a narrow 1-0 aggregate scoreline in their two-legged play-off. “The match itself wasn’t fun,” Tunisia’s Mohamed Drager admitted, “it was a violent affair, but that’s football.”
Here’s everything you need to know about a contest with hopefully less violence but one which may not be much more fun for Tunisia.
Prediction: Denmark 2-0 Tunisia
Mexico’s bid to reach ‘el quinto partido’ – the fifth match – begins on Tuesday afternoon against a Poland side just trying to get out of the group.
In each of the past seven World Cups, Mexico have fallen short in the round of 16. The home tournament of 1986 was the last time El Tri tasted the sweet nectar of a quarter-final. 1986 was also the year that Poland last made it beyond the group stage. Their fate was decided after just two games in 2018.
Here’s everything you need to know about the meeting between this pairing with clearly defined ambitions.
Prediction: Mexico 2-1 Poland
France face Australia on Tuesday evening in a rematch of their opening group stage game at the 2018 World Cup.
The first-ever use of VAR at a World Cup awarded France a penalty which Antoine Griezmann converted en route to a 2-1 victory for the eventual champions. Australia couldn’t muster a single win in Russia and haven’t claimed a World Cup scalp since 2010.
Prediction: France 2-1 Australia