It was a chaotic and heartbreaking evening for Mexico, who at last came to life at a lively Lusail Stadium and just missed performing a Houdini escapology act to advance to the round of 16.
Even though Salem al-Dawsari scored, they were already out due to their higher yellow card total than Poland’s five at the start of extra time. One more goal from Mexico would have given them a chance to advance.
Mexico, who had not scored at all in this World Cup, was up 2-0 after 52 minutes and had one more opportunity when César Montes met a free kick that Luis Chávez had sent into Saudi Arabia’s box. However, no third goal came, and Mexico’s valiant effort was over.
Edson Alvarez had previously attempted to score but his shot had hit a Saudi player instead. The energetic Hirving Lozano’s 20-yard rocket claimed a free kick on the edge of the box, but Chávez blasted it into the wall. Then Uriel Antuna scored for Saudi Arabia, but this was deemed offside, allowing Poland to advance.
Martino’s four years in charge are almost certainly coming to an end with this, which won’t surprise many supporters who had lost faith in the Argentinian after a lackluster qualifying campaign and the two previous games here producing just a point.
The contract terminated with the last whistle, and there is nothing left to do, the Mexico coach stated. “I have no reason at this time to think anything otherwise.”
Tough questions from Mexican journalists who demanded to know why their nation had missed qualifying for the last 16 for the first time since 1994 served to highlight the animosity toward him.
In the earlier group game, when Mexico lost to Argentina, Alvarez and Chávez claimed they did not comprehend Martino’s strategy. If control was lost at this point, the manager was questioned.
If internal conflict is what you’re referring to, then no, he answered.
The Saudis will also regret their case of what could have been, as a victory would have given them at least a fourth match in Qatar 2022 to follow the spectacular victory over Argentina.
Hervé Renard acted honorably. We’re not going to start crying and pull out the violin. With the way we performed, we didn’t deserve to win, the coach of Saudi Arabia acknowledged. “We had previously dreamed of succeeding, but this evening we didn’t fight hard enough. Mexico was considerably superior. The Asia Cup is then first prepared. We still have time to since it won’t be for over a year. additionally to begin the World Cup qualifying. The Saudi national team’s next objective is to accomplish this.
The first lost opportunity for Mexico was when Alexis Vega raced onto a through-pass and only Owais’s frame prevented an opening. The estimated 60,00 Green Falcons supporters present gave the save an audible ovation before sighing in unison in relief.
Owais stumbled in response to Jess Gallardo’s cross, while Henry Martin—who scored Mexico’s opening goal—fell to the ground as Hassan al-Tambakti confronted him.
Mexico was pelting those wearing white, and Michael Oliver was not interested in a penalty, so raucous cries greeted any indication of good Saudi play. The next threat came from a diving Orbelin Pineda header, but this appeared to be an illusion as Saudi Arabia was able to escape.
How long they could carry on doing this was the important question. El Tri was constantly poised to receive from Héctor Moreno or Chávez via Lozano on the right or Gallardo on the left, and the Saudis’ main response was to scramble or spoil, with Saleh al-Shehri and Ali al-Hassan both having their names listed in Oliver’s book for fouls.
A Firas al-Buraikan rush that startled their defense, followed by a flying Hassan header, urged them to stay alert despite Mexico having a 70-30 possession percentage share at halftime.
Though no letup was indicated by a Chávez curving attempt that Owais sent away at the start of the second half, Mexico eventually scored. Chávez delivered a corner in from the left, Montes flicked on, and Martin completed for their first goal of these championships.
The goal differential still favored Argentina over Mexico in the other game, which saw Poland defeat Poland. But Chávez defied the odds by beating Owais to his left with the sweetest free kick from 30 yards out, the ball always bending away.
As a result, the Mexico subs joined the party and brought their squad that much closer to accomplishing the seemingly impossible. In a bizarre passage, Lozano came close to scoring their third goal, which would have put them ahead of Poland in goals scored, but offside stopped it. The Mexicans and Poles were tied on all criteria when Argentina defeated Poland 2-0, but fair play allowed the Europeans to advance.
Saudi Arabia was still being peppered by Mexico, but they were unable to cross the finish line and secure a notable margin of victory.
When it was pre-tournament, it wouldn’t have seemed out of the ordinary, but, blimey, it took some twists and turns to finish that way. Mexico left it too late, Poland almost did enough, Argentina finally had enough class, and Saudi Arabia gave us some memorable moments, particularly their victory over Messi and company in the first game of the group stage.
It is finished! Mexico threw everything it had at it, but it refused to give up. Even after that Saudi goal, Mexico would have advanced based on goals scored, but they ultimately lose out on goal difference: Mexico 0; Poland 1
I’m so sorry! What a move by Chavez! Outrageous. Chavez’s whipped left footer curls away from Owais and into the upper corner after Mexico wins a free kick from about 30 yards away. His first international goal is stunning. Free kicks are now being scored in this World Cup all of a sudden. Marcus Rashford was featured yesterday, and Chavez is featured today. What does “pick that out” mean in Mexican?
Now that Saudi Arabia must give this everything, additional aims appear likely. Lozano has the ball in the net as the game is end to end! Is it 3-0 now? The offside flag is raised instead. It appears to be the right choice, so the VAR doesn’t need to get too involved.