Mexico vs Poland player ratings: Robert Lewandowski endures penalty woe

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty - and his chance to finally claim a World Cup tournament goal - as Poland played out a 0-0 draw with Mexico that left Saudi Arabia as the early leaders of Group C after their shock win over Argentina.

Mexico played most of the attacking football in Stadium 974 but Poland won their penalty in the 56th minute when Hector Moreno pulled down Lewandowski only for the Polish captain to shoot too close to Guillermo Ochoa, who saved.

Mexico brought on Wolves striker Raul Jimenez as a substitute, capping his return from injury, but he failed to provide the breakthrough sought by coach Gerardo Martino as the game petered out.

Here’s how the players from both teams rated:


Guillermo Ochoa - 9

A bystander in the first half as Poland offered no attacking threat but made himself an instant hero with a brilliant penalty save diving to his left soon after the break. Just the third player in history to go to five men’s World Cups and the 37-year-old shone as he showed age is no barrier

Jorge Sanchez - 7

Got forward well from right-back and linked up superbly with Lozano, as their interplay caused the Polish defence all sorts of problems. Produced a good snap-shot on 44 minutes that forced Szczesny into a smart save at his near post and was solid defensively although did pick up a booking.

Cesar Montes - 8

Held things together at back, especially in the first half when Mexico completely blunted Poland’s attack. Stayed tight to Lewandowski in the opening 45 minutes and ensured he remained quiet with superb defensive play. Looked comfortable in possession as well.

Hector Moreno - 6

A couple of good defensive headers clear and a key part of a well-organised backline, as well as offering a threat in the air at the other end of the pitch. However, gave away a penalty as he got outmuscled by Lewandowski and hauled the Polish No 9 down, although his goalkeeper bailed him out. Played well otherwise.

Jesus Gallardo - 7

Defended well early on, with one particularly notable recovery tackle to dispossess Kaminski. Also made some probing runs off the ball in attack and looked dangerous on the left-hand side.

Edson Alvarez - 6

A calming presence on the ball in the middle of the park and did a lot of quiet work to keep Mexico in shape. Solid but unspectacular.

Hector Herrera - 6

Made some decent runs and produced some nice touches, including a backheel that set Vega away before the break. Neat interplay with Lozano created space although he was wasteful in possession on a couple of occasions. Subbed off on 70 minutes for Rodriguez

Luis Chavez - 7

Produced a great ball over top for Gallardo to have a shooting opportunity midway through the first half and put another couple of dangerous balls into the box.

Hirving Lozano - 8

Mexico’s dangerman in attack was consistently lively and the most likely to create opportunities for El Tri. Linked up superbly with Sanchez on the right but also effectively switched wings to search for a breakthrough. Happy to cut inside defenders and shoot or beat his man and put balls into the box.

Henry Martin - 4

Mexico’s biggest issue is a toothlessness in attack as their lack of goalscoring in the qualifiers proved and Henry Martin didn’t look like the answer to their problems. Only starting due to Jimenez’s lack of fitness and struggled to make any sort of impact through the middle, with all of Mexico’s best moments coming from out wide.

Alexis Vega - 8

One of Mexico’s star men on the day, he and Lozano switched wings with regularity and both caused havoc wherever they popped up. Always involved in the play, beat Cash on a couple of occasions and also created chances with his pressing. His first-half header went agonisingly wide, while he also tracked back well when necessary. Subbed off late on.


Raul Jimenez - 6

Brought on for the ineffective Martin with 20 minutes left as Mexico desperately searched for a breakthrough and showed some flashes. Mexico desperately need him to be fit to start moving forward.

Carlos Rodriguez - 5

Came on with 20 minutes remaining for Herrera and wasn’t able to provide Mexico with the breakthrough they wanted.

Uriel Antuna - 6

Brought on with six minutes left to try and find an attacking spark and produced some twists and turns to win a corner.


Wojciech Szczesny - 8

His side may have been second best for most of the game but the veteran goalkeeper looked an unflappable presence between the sticks. Quick off his line to clear any danger and made the routine saves he needed to with minimal fuss.

Matty Cash - 7

The Aston Villa man was beaten by Vega on a couple of occasions but looked one of the more likely Poles to create something in attack and was visibly frustrated at the lack of output going forward by his team. Stood up well to Jimenez in the closing stages to preserve the clean sheet.

Jakub Kiwior - 7

Formed a good defensive partnership with Glik as Mexico were kept quiet. Not particularly flashy but stoic, solid and limited the opposition to few real chances.

Kamal Glik - 8

Winning his 100th cap for Poland, the 34-year-old centre-back showed all his veteran instincts to command the Poland backline in what was generally an impressive defensive display. Helped subdue Martin and then Jimenez. Brave, solid performance.

Bartosz Beresynski - 5

Looked uncomfortable in his role as left-back or left wing-back although he did battle gamely. Part of Poland’s incredibly defensive set-up.

Nicola Zalewski - 5

Defended gamely, especially early on but struggled to make any sort of impact as Poland were completely overrun in midfield. Subbed at half-time for Bielik as Poles searched for control.

Sebastian Szymanski - 5

A very defensive presence who offered little on the ball but was solid enough. Subbed off with 20 minutes remaining.

Grzegorz Krychowiak - 6

A physical, bruising presence in midfield who was symptomatic of Poland’s defensive set-up with an incredibly deep line that got men behind the ball. Made some good tackles - including one on Chavez - although, in possession, he mainly went sideways, backwards or saw long balls fly over his head. Wasted a late opportunity by lashing well over the bar.

Jakub Kaminski - 5

A quiet game as he failed to provide much meaningful support to Lewandowski and had few highlights for his video reel.

Piotr Zielinski - 5

One of the culprits, whether by design of the system or lack of personal conviction, in leaving Lewandowski isolated up top. Should have been one of his side’s bigger attacking threats but lost the ball on a couple of occasions and a good corner with 10 minutes to go was the first real sign of his quality of cross. Subbed off late on

Robert Lewandowski - 5

Has something of an aura about him, just by his sheer presence, but ploughed a painfully lone furrow up front in the first half as Poland left him completely isolated and rendered him ineffectual. The first time Poland pressed after the break, his bullying physicality won a penalty saw it saved as his wait for a first World Cup goal goes on.


Krystian Bielik - 7

Brought on at half-time to stop the Poland midfield being overrun and an improved second-half display was testament to his impact, albeit largely in an unseen capacity.

Arkadiusz Milik - 6

An argument that the Juventus striker should start to provide support to Lewandowski but only given five minutes at the end where he didn’t have time to make an impact.