Mexico played out a goalless draw game against European side Poland in their first game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar on Tuesday evening.
Mexico and Poland both missed the chance to capitalise on Argentina’s shock defeat by Saudi Arabia as their opening World Cup 2022 Group C encounter ended goalless.
Gerardo Martino’s side had the bulk of possession and the better chances overall, but Poland might have sneaked victory only for star striker Robert Lewandowski to miss a second-half penalty.
The Barcelona forward won the penalty after a tussle with Hector Moreno in the box which went to a VAR review, but his weak spot-kick was saved by veteran Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who became only the eighth player – and fourth Mexican – to play at five World Cups.
Lewandowski remains without a goal at a World Cup but in truth Poland did little to merit victory, preferring a policy of containment.
At the other end, Poland failed to get Lewandowski involved as the Barcelona striker – who has scored 18 goals for the Spanish club this season – received little service as both keepers finished the first half without having to make a save.
With Poland losing the midfield battle, coach Czeslaw Michniewicz made a halftime substitution by hauling off Nicola Zalewski and bringing on central midfielder Krystian Bielik, which allowed Piotr Zielinski to play in an advanced role.
The tactical change seemed to work initially as Poland began creating chances and eventually won the penalty which Lewandowski shot low but Ochoa guessed correctly and dived to his left to deny the skipper.
Not to be outdone by Ochoa’s brilliance in goal, Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny also underlined his credentials moments later when he reacted quickly to change direction and deny Martin’s glancing header that was on target.
Mexico coach Gerardo Martino replaced Martin and brought on Jimenez with 20 minutes to go in the second half but the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, who is returning from a long injury lay-off, failed to have a shot on goal.
The result leaves Saudi Arabia as group leaders following their stunning upset of Argentina, one of the pre-tournament favourites, earlier in the day.
By: D. N. A. MENSAH, Daily Mail GH /Follow the writer @SkipperWrites on Twitter