Mexico beat Saudi Arabia but miss out on last 16
Mexico knew they needed to defeat Saudi Arabia to have any hopes of reaching the knockout rounds of the World Cup 2022 and started their final game in Group C in blistering fashion.
The flew, swarmed and smothered the Saudi Arabian defence from the first whistle but couldn’t break the deadlock in a frustrating first 45 minutes at the Lusail Stadium.
In the other Group C game Argentina were equally dominant against Poland and a win for them would aid Mexico’s cause to reach the last-16.
Argentina scored just as Mexico kicked off the second half in the same manner the ended the first only this time they were more clinical.
Henry Martin turned in the first goal two minutes after the restart before Luis Chavez netted a wonderful free kick in the 52nd minute that may just have been the goal of the tournament.
Mexico were ahead in the game but not in the group. A second Argentina goal helped their cause once more as the minutes ticked by and the equation became simple.
Score one more goal and Mexico would beat Poland into second place. They threw men up the pitch, whipped in crosses and had a goal ruled out for offside.
Then in the dying stages of the match a slick one-two saw Salem Al Dawsari split the Mexican defence and guide a cool finish past Guillermo Ochoa five minutes into stoppage time.
There was no chance of a comeback and although Mexico won the game they were knocked out of the World Cup on goal difference.
If the teams are level on points, the one with a superior goal difference – the total of goals scored minus goals conceded – will go through. The last team to face the consequences was Portugal in 2014 when they finished behind the US for second place in their group. If nothing separates the teams after rules 1 and 2, the third criterion will be looked at, which is goald scored.
This rule was most famously enforced in 1982, when Italy and Cameroon were locked on points and goal difference, but the European side advanced because they had scored one more goal.