The Claret & Blue of Aston Villa are represented by four individuals at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which began on Sunday.
Emi Martinez represents Argentina, Leander Dendoncker features in the Belgium squad, whilst Matty Cash and Jan Bednarek will be in the same camp as they play for Poland.
Whilst Dendoncker faces no Villa compatriots in Belgium’s Group F, Argentina and Poland will go head-to-head in Group C, with Martinez in the opposing changing room to Cash and Bednarek’s Poland. Martinez will lead the line in goal for Argentina and should play a pivotal role in potentially leading this side deep into the knockout stages of the tournament.
Argentina, or as they are also known locally, Le Albiceleste, were as high as second favourites by many bookmakers to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy (Bet365 – 11/2 Argentina to win the World Cup) pre-tournament, exemplifying the importance Martinez faces in between the sticks.
A shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening match on Tuesday has dampened Argentina’s expectations, but they should still make it out of the group.
Poland, who drew 0-0 with Mexico in their opener on Monday, will have to perform well in their remaining two group matches if they’re to advance to the knockout stage. A big question regarding the involvement of the Polish Villans in the tournament will be down to the formation selected by head coach Czesław Michniewicz.
Bednarek missed out in the match against Mexico despite Michniewicz’s decision to play with three central defenders, however Cash was bright in a wing-back role. Having kept a clean sheet, it’s doubtful that Bednarek starts in the next match.
Dendoncker leaves Bodymoor Heath to join his Belgian teammates in Qatar, but given Belgium’s strength in central midfield, it’s likely that Dendoncker sees little to no action in Qatar. Belgium will play Canada in their opening group fixture on Wednesday.
We wish all the best to the four Villans in Qatar over the coming month.
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