Mexico vs Poland – World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction

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.

Mexico vs Poland H2H Results (All Time)

Current Form (Last Five Games)

Mexico team news

Raul Jimenez has not made a competitive appearance for club or country since August. After a disrupted preseason, the Wolves striker took it upon himself to continue his recovery in Mexico with the national team’s medical staff.

Jimenez played the second half of El Tri’s friendly against Sweden six days before their World Cup opener. Whether Gerardo Martino risks the number nine from the off remains to be seen.

Mexico Starting 11 (4-3-3): Ochoa; Sanchez, Vasquez, Montes, Arteaga; C Rodriguez, E Alvarez, Herrera; Lozano, Jimenez, Vega.
Bench: Talavera, Cota, Araujo, Moreno, Gallardo, K Alvarez, Romo, Gutierrez, Guardado, Chavez, Mori, Pineda, Martin, Antuna, Alvarado.

Poland team news

Czeslaw Michniewicz is expected to have a fully fit squad to select from when he mulls over the best personnel for his hybrid system. There was a scare when Aston Villa‘s Matty Cash felt his shoulder on the final weekend of Premier League football but the Slough-born full-back quickly quashed any concerns.

“I’ve hurt my shoulder a bit,” he said post-game. “I sort of dislocated it last season and I think I’ve just tweaked it a bit. But nah, I’m ready. I’ll do anything to play in the World Cup. So, I’m fine.”

Poland Starting 11 (3-5-2): Sczcesny; Bednarek, Glik, Kiwior; Cash, S Szymansky, Bielik, Zielinski, Zalewski; Lewandowski, Swiderski.
Bench: Skorupski, Grabara, Jedrejczyk, Wieteska, Bereszynski, Gumny, Krychowiak, Grosicki, Zurkowski, D Szymanski, Frankowski, Skoras, Milik, Piatek.

Whatever the final score may be, Mexico will surely win the battle for possession – chiefly because Poland don’t need the ball to be at their best. Under Michniewicz and his predecessor Paulo Sousa, Poland’s primary route to goal has come via crosses into the box.

It may not be the most sophisticated (or efficient) approach but Robert Lewandowski is a good target for any type of delivery. However, unlike Mexico teams of the past, Martino can call upon the aerially impressive Cesar Montes (who stands at 6’3) to combat this airborne assault.

Martino has described himself as “public enemy number one in Mexico” but may begin to creep down that list if he can steer El Tri to a victory they are expected to achieve.

Prediction: Mexico 2-1 Poland

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