Mexico’s win over Saudi Arabia not enough

LUSAIL, Qatar — Mexico beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in Wednesday’s Group C match with goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez but failed to qualify for the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

Martin found the net for the first time from a corner in the 47th minute, completing a deflected pass from defender Cesar Montes. Moments later, in the 52nd minute, Chavez then capitalized on an inch-perfect free kick that gave Mexico a 2-0 lead early in the second half.

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Mexico needed a goal to reach the round of 16, but Salem Al-Dawsari’s stoppage-time goal for Saudi Arabia dashed that plan El Tri. Poland, who lost 2-0 to group winners Argentina in the parallel game, finished second ahead of Mexico on goal difference.

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Fast reaction

1. Mexico are unable to extend their winning streak of reaching the knockout rounds

Despite the victory and a frantic second half, Mexico failed to continue their winning streak of reaching the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

Having reached the round of 16 at every World Cup since 1994, Mexico’s failure to extend that streak to eight editions will be viewed as a massive collapse, despite their heroic efforts on Wednesday.

Even before the game on Wednesday, the chances of reaching the knockout stages were slim El Tri. With Mexico coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino and his side going goalless and without a win in the first two games of the group stage (0-0 v Poland, 0-2 v Argentina), they had to beat Saudi Arabia in hopes of resolving that Result between Argentina and Poland worked in their favor.

After a goalless first 45 minutes, goals from Martin and Chavez spurred Mexico to find a third place to overcome Poland’s superior goal difference. Hirving Lozano and Uriel Antuna both appeared to find the elusive third goal but were ruled offside on their attempts.

Saudi Arabia then swept all dreams away with Al-Dawsari’s stoppage-time goal to leave Mexico third behind Argentina and Poland after the final whistle.



The ESPN FC Daily team reflect on the incredible end of Group C that left Mexico devastated and Poland in high spirits.

2. Chavez shows why he’s on Europe’s radar

Who but Luis Chavez could be the deserving man of the match and his amazing free-kick be the goal of the tournament?

Although his World Cup run is now over, the impact of the 26-year-old Pachua midfielder is unmistakable. Many more clubs are already interested in European clubs and will likely keep an eye on the recent Liga MX champion who also came close to scoring another goal that night.

Of the silver linings for Mexico at the World Cup, Chavez’s performance is certainly something worth highlighting as it may offer him a platform ahead of a seemingly inevitable move abroad.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)



Herculez Gomez, Sebastian Salazar and Ale Moreno explain what led to Tata Martino and Mexico’s elimination from the World Cup.

3. Martino’s once promising era with Mexico ends

Gerardo “Tata” Martino said after the game that his tenure as Mexico’s coach was over, confirming reports earlier this summer that he would not continue coaching the side no matter what happens in Qatar.

After a promising start to his tenure in 2019, which included a CONCACAF Gold Cup title that year, Martino then struggled after failing to win the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup in 2021 while also doing so went four straight games without a win against the United States.

Without a place in the knockout stages, all signs pointed to a split between the two sides. It is the end of an era that once began rosy and is now ending with a dubious World Cup defeat.

Player Ratings

Saudi Arabia: Mohammed Al-Owais 8, Hassan Al-Tambaakti 6, Abdulelah Al-Amri 6, Ali Al-Bulayhi 6, Sultan Al-Ghannam 5, Ali Al-Hassan 6, Mohamed Kanno 6, Saud Abdulhamid 7, Feras Al-Brikan 6 Saleh Al-Sheri 6, Salem Al-Dawsari 7.

Subtitle: Riyadh Sharahili 6, Abdullah Madu 7, Abdulrahman Al-Obud 6, Hatan Bahbri 6.

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa (6), Jorge Sanchez (6), Cesar Montes (7), Hector Moreno (7), Jesus Gallardo (6), Edson Alvarez (7), Orbelin Pineda (7), Luis Chavez (9), Hirving Lozano (8), Henry Martin (7), Alexis Vega (6).

Subtitle: Uriel Antuna (7), Carlos Rodriguez (6), Raul Jimenez (6), Rogelio Funes Mori (6), Kevin Alvarez (7).

Best and worst performers

BEST: Luis Chavez, Mexico.

The difference maker and almost the player who single-handedly carried Mexico to the knockout rounds. At least there could be a move to Europe soon.

WORST: Sultan Al-Ghannam, Saudi Arabia.

The full-back seemed overwhelmed throughout the games. Most importantly, he couldn’t win a single duel against Mexico all night.

Highlights and notable moments

Despite the heartbreaking elimination, Luis Chavez’s goal will be a worthy contender for the tournament’s best goal.

That Golazo was the farthest shot (34.9 yards) on a Mexican goal at a World Cup since at least 1966.

After the game: What the players and coaches said

Gerardo “Tata” Martino on his departure as Mexico coach: “I’m the one responsible for the disappointment we have today. We accept the failure we had at this World Cup. My contract ended when the referee blew the whistle at the end of the game and there was nothing more we could do.” “

Mexico midfielder Edson Alvarez on the result: “It’s a hard blow, there are no words. The team fought from the first minute. We had a lot of looks and chances to score but we didn’t make it. It leaves a bitter taste.”

Key Statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information Research)

– Mexico finished with 26 shots, the team’s third most in a World Cup game since 1966. The 1970 Mexico team had a game of 30 and 28 shots.

– While their seven-consecutive knockout streak was impressive, Mexico were eliminated in the group stage for the eighth time at a World Cup, and it was a draw El Tri with South Korea and Scotland having the most of all time.

– Mexico exits the group stage of a World Cup for the first time since 1978. The team had reached the second round in 1982 and the quarter-finals in 1986 as hosts. After being banned from the tournament in 1990, El Tri advanced to the knockout rounds seven times in a row – until now.


Saudi Arabia: A memorable World Cup ending in which they beat Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, but then fell to Poland and Mexico. The Green Falcons will be back in action in January’s Arabian Gulf Cup against Yemen, Iraq and Oman.

Mexico: The next games are coming up El Tri some Nations League matches against Suriname and Jamaica will be played in March. After Martino’s departure as coach, it remains unclear who will lead the team. Mexico’s win over Saudi Arabia not enough

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