Mexican national team goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa addressed the challenge Robert Lewandowski poses on El Tri ahead of their inaugural 2022 World Cup match against Poland on Tuesday, hailing the FC Barcelona player as ‘very skilled’.
Mexico drew Group C, confronting Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia in the first round of the international tournament. But given the schedule, head coach Gerardo Martino has labeled the first game as the ‘decisive’ factor moving forward.
Though Ochoa maintained the team has a plan in place for the match, he insists Mexico cannot underestimate Lewandowski.
“We know what Lewandowski is, we know the rival we are going to face, the quality of player he is, we know his talent, where he has played. What we have to focus on here is not looking,” he said.
“He is a player who has the ability to change the game for you, he is a very skilled player, it will be an important challenge for everyone to face a player of this ability and we will look for them to worry about what that we have above and surely we will do damage by attacking.”
Historically, the Polish side struggles at the World Cup. The team has not qualified for the round of 16 since 1986, coming in third place in both 2002 and 2006.
And with Lewandowski on the field, the team hasn’t done much better. After debuting in 2008, the striker failed to lead Poland to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, falling during the UEFA qualification cycles.
On the other end, Mexico has made it out of the group stage in their last eight World Cup appearances.
It all comes down to Tuesday, as the two nations face each other at the Stadium 974 (Rass Abou Aboud) in Qatar at 11:00am EST.