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Star summit as World Cup highlight: Messi against Lewandowski

When asked how Lionel Messi could be stopped, Robert Lewandowski’s national coach laughed. Messi scores so many goals and gives so many assists – you will probably never find a real answer, said coach Czesław Michniewicz before today’s group final between Poland and Argentina (8 p.m. / ZDF and MagentaTV). The World Cup will probably be over for one of the two megastars after that.

Lewandowski, as Group C leaders, suffices for a draw, while Messi needs to win to be sure of going into the round of 16. “It’s not just a game between Lewandowski or Messi. It’s not tennis, one on one,” Michniewicz said in Al-Rajjan. Both are great strikers, “but they can’t win on their own.” He relies on Lewandowski’s qualities. All of Argentina, of course, on Messi’s.

“Everyone should be excited”

Michniewicz told how when Messi opened the scoring against Mexico (2-0) he was hugged by a boy in the stands as if he were his father. That shows all the excitement. But he is also sure that Poland loves its national team.

Michniewicz came out as a supporter of Argentinian football during the tournament, but that doesn’t count this time at Stadium 974 in Soha Port. “We should all be excited to play Messi and Argentina,” said the 52-year-old.

After Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil without the injured Neymar and France with the outstanding Kylian Mbappé have already qualified for the round of 16, the 34-year-old Lewandowski and the 35-year-old Messi also want to meet the superstars in the knockout round. “It’s going to be a battle between two teams that can both go through,” Michniewicz said.

Both highly decorated football heroes may even be allowed to continue playing in the round of 16. In the event of their own draw, the game between Saudi Arabia and Mexico would also have to end in a draw.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:221130-99-716800/3

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