World Cup Poland v Argentina tips: Messi magic can guide La Albiceleste through

Argentina looked down and out during their game against Mexico but Tipstrr football expert Sergiu Baltuta thinks Lionel Messi's stunning goal could inspire La Albiceleste to an extended World Cup run

Matchday three in Group C sees both Poland and Argentina looking looking to secure top spot with a win, but knowing that a bad result for either side could open the door for Saudi Arabia to leapfrog them if they beat Mexico in the other game.

Poland lead the group after following up their drab 0-0 draw against Mexico with a 2-0 win against Saudi Arabia. To qualify for the knockout round they need at least a draw against Argentina, but that result, combined with a Saudi win would leave them second in the group with the prospect of facing France in the last 16.

After a poor first game against Mexico, Poland found a way to bring their star player Robert Lewandowski into the game against Saudi Arabia, but they are still unable to provide the kind of service he has become accustomed to at Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Lewandowksi erased the memory of his missed penalty against Mexico with a neat finish to seal the win against the Saudis, but that chance was gifted by a basic defensive blunder and not from a build-up of Polish play.

The 34-year-old was clearly overcome with emotion after breaking his World Cup duck, and renowned as he is for being a clutch goal scorer, he will be looking to replicate that feeling in a game as crucial as this.

Poland found a way to goal to beat the Saudis, while the fact that they have kept two clean sheets has papered over the cracks of a defence that has looked vulnerable in both games.

It says a lot that Wojciech Szczesny has arguably been Poland's best player, especially against Saudi Arabia, when he pulled off an outstanding fingertip save just seconds after crucially saving a penalty.

Mexico missed a host of chances in the opening game, while Saudi Arabia had five shots on target and missed a penalty, and Poland cannot rely on Argentina to be so wasteful in front of goal..

Argentina have failed to spark in either of their games so far against two teams that, at least on paper, are inferior to them.

No-one will forget their shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia when, despite having taken an early lead, and once behind they ran out of ideas when trying to break their opponents' defence.

Against Mexico, they struggled again for more than an hour, and it took a moment of magic from theLionel Messi himself to break the deadlock, while an excellent strike from Enzo Fernandez eased them to a barely deserved victory.

Messi has been far from his best, despite netting in both games, but his importance was highlighted when it took his eye for a goal out of nothing to unlock the game and keep Argentina's World Cup hopes alive.

In an old school 4-4-2 formation, Argentina have been very unconvincing so far, and against a well-organised Poland team that prioritises defence, they look like they could be made to struggle once again.

That said, the win against Mexico might just be the springboard to an extended run, provided they can see off Poland to win the group and sidestep France in the next round.

It shouldn't be forgotten that the last time Argentina suffered a shock loss in the opening game (1-0 to Cameroon at Italia '90) they went on to reach the final, where they lost only to a late West Germany penalty.

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