Contrasting moods will accompany Poland and Saudi Arabia in their World Cup Group C clash on Saturday, with all the pressure on the Poles after a disappointing goalless draw as the Saudis shocked Argentina.
Saudi Arabia stunned the world by beating the Argentines 2-1 on Tuesday and could upset the odds again against a Polish side who shuffled their lines against Mexico when Robert Lewandowski, who has never scored in a World Cup, missed a penalty.
The Saudis, who are the second-lowest-ranked team in the tournament just ahead of Ghana, are eyeing only their second round of 16 after being knocked out by Sweden in 1994.
For Poland, a win is vital if they are to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 1986.
“This result does not take away our chances of advancing further either for us or for the Mexicans,” Polish coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said after Tuesday’s stalemate.
However, some Polish players seem to have already given up their last group game against Argentina, putting further pressure on the need to beat the Saudis.
“We add zero points to our tally before the third game, which will definitely be lost,” said goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on the eve of the game against Mexico.
The Saudis, on the other hand, received a huge boost from their first-ever World Cup victory and the surprise Group C leaders will approach the match against Poland with optimism.
Both teams had similar possession and just two shots on target in their first games, but for Saudi Arabia it was enough to bring about one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
Poland, who have frustrated their fans and Lewandowski with a defensive approach, must be front and center or they could drop out of the tournament.