World Cup 2022, Mexico vs Saudi Arabia: Everything you need to know

Mexico play Saudi Arabia on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET at the Lusail Stadium for their final Group C match in the World Cup. El Tri is in a tough position, sitting in last place in Group C. Saudi Arabia sit above them at third with Poland and Argentina leading the way at first and second, respectively.

Group C: What each team needs to qualify for the round of 16 of the World Cup

Mexico in the group stage of the World Cup so far

Mexico drew in its first game with Poland and lost its second to Argentina, which moved them down to last place in Group C.

You may have heard of the curse of the fifth game (el quinto partido). Mexico has made it to the round of 16 in their last seven World Cup appearances, but can’t seem to make it past that and into the quarterfinals. Well, this year, they may be suffering another curse. Their chances of making it even to the round of 16 this year are pretty slim. The last time they failed to advance from the group stage was in 1978.

This time, they need more than just a win alone. Mexico will need to rely on the Poland vs Argentina game as well. El Tri needs to win and they need Poland to beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina. No pressure, right?

There is another way, but it is an even bigger ask. If Mexico wins, but Argentina also wins, then the goal difference would come into play. Just one problem – Mexico drew in their opening game with Poland, 0-0, and they lost to Argentina…2-0. If you’re a math genius, you’ll have noticed that their goals in the World Cup so far add up to exactly zero. This means they need to not just beat Saudi Arabia, but beat them by four points. If Mexico win and Poland and Argentina tie, then Mexico would have to win by three points. It’s un poco complicado.

Mexico possible starting lineup vs Saudi Arabia:


Saudi Arabia in the group stage of the World Cup so far

Saudi Arabia started out the World Cup better than they ever could have hoped, with a 2-1 upset over big-time favorites, Argentina – one of the World Cup’s biggest-ever upsets. In their second game, though, they weren’t so fortunate, falling 2-0 to Poland.

That loss bumped Saudi Arabia down to third in Group C. Winning it would have sealed their round of 16 chances, but instead, they’ll have to fight for the right to play in the knockout stage. Luckily for the Saudis, unlike Mexico, they don’t have to rely on anyone but themselves. If they can beat Mexico by three points, they are a shoe-in to the next round. If they only tie with Mexico, they may still have a chance, if Poland can manage to defeat Argentina by three goals or more.

Saudi Arabia hasn’t reached the round of 16 since 1994, in their first World Cup appearance. Since then, they’ve made it to the World Cup five more times, in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018, and of course 2022. In the last four though, they had just one win in the group stage. They were definitely the underdogs against Argentina, but managed to pull off a win, so they shouldn’t be underestimated.

Saudi Arabia possible starting lineup vs Mexico:


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