Players will travel to Qatar in November to participate in the biggest football extravaganza on earth – the FIFA World Cup. The competition begins on 20 November, and the final is set to be played on 18 December.
This year’s edition will be the first time the competition will take place during a domestic season, and it will be interesting to see its repercussions on league football.
Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland make up the teams in Group C. It is a tough mix of teams but Argentina will be the favorites to top the group. Mexico and Poland are evenly matched while Saudi Arabia will be the underdogs.
We look at the most capped players for each country that are active and likely to feature at the World Cup.
#1 Lionel Messi – Argentina – 164 caps
It’s no surprise that Lionel Messi is Argentina’s most capped active player going into the World Cup. Messi made his debut for Argentina in 2005 but only won his first trophy with the team last year, the Copa America.
In 2014, Argentina came close to winning the World Cup but lost in the final. Now 35 years old, it is fair to say that this is probably going to be Messi’s final chance to win the trophy.
Just Lionel Messi things.
@PSG_English || #UCL
Messi is currently having a brilliant season for Paris Saint Germain after taking a season to settle in Paris. He has 12 goals and 13 assists in 17 appearances, and that is a positive for Argentina.
There has always been a debate about which legendary player is better, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. It is fair to say that Argentina has a good enough squad to go all the way in Qatar.
#2 Fahad Al-Muwallad – Saudi Arabia – 72 caps
Fahad Al-Muwallad has been playing professional football since he was 16 when he made his debut for Al-Ittihad. Currently 28 years old, he is the country’s most capped active player and is also the joint-top scorer with 17 goals.
Al-Muwallad is a winger and spent 11 years at Al-Ittihad before signing for Al-Shabab earlier this year
There are few expectations from Saudi Arabia, considering the quality of the other teams in the group. The country is still one of Asia’s best teams although they are yet to win any major continental trophy.
Unlike the other teams, the Saudi Arabia players will find it easier to adjust to the climate, and that might give them a small advantage. Al-Muwallad will be a key player and his side have nothing to lose heading into the World Cup.
#3 Andrés Guardado – Mexico – 177 caps
Andrés Guardado, 36, is an elder statesman in Mexico’s national team. He has won multiple Gold Cup trophies with the team and also won the CONCACAF Cup in 2015.
Guardado began his career at Atlas in 2005 before spending five years at Deportivo La Coruna. Guardado had brief spells at Valencia and PSV Eindhoven before signing for Real Betis in 2017.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME ANDRES GUARDADO?!
El Principito scores his 11th Gold Cup goal and doubles Mexico’s lead #GoldCup2019
Guardado was deployed as a winger earlier in his career but has been moved into midfield over time. The player has great vision and can pick out brilliant passes for his offensive teammates but also knows how to defend off the ball.
Mexico find themselves in a tricky group but the team always makes an impact at the World Cup. Guardado will be key to any success that the team achieves in Qatar.
#4 Robert Lewandowski – Poland – 134 caps
This group has a plethora of top players, and Robert Lewandowski is another example. The Polish striker has enjoyed a glorious career and continues to make an impact following his move to Barcelona earlier this year. Poland have built a young and exciting team over the last few years but Lewandowski is their flag bearer.
LEWANDOWSKI GIVES BARCA THE LEAD IN STOPPAGE TIME
At 34, this might be Lewandowski’s last World Cup as a regular for his national team. Getting out of the group stage will be Poland’s priority, and Lewandowski’s goals will be key to accomplishing that objective.
He has 18 goals and four assists in 17 appearances for Barcelona this season. The striker hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down despite his age.
To read more news, click here.