With two rapid-fire goals scored in the early minutes of the second half, Mexico managed to defeat Saudi Arabia 2-1 but failed to advance to the last 16 because group-rival Poland secured the same number of points but had let in one less goal.
Coming into the match, Saudi Arabia needed a win to advance to the next round, whereas Mexico’s fate would be determined by the size of their victory and the result of the Poland-Argentina match that was taking place at the same time.
After an uneventful first 45 minutes, the second half of the match caught fire in the 47th minute with a goal from Mexico’s Henry Martin, followed five minutes later with a blistering free kick from Mexico’s Luis Chavez.
Mexican fans, who had one eye on the result of the Poland-Argentina match, were excited as it appeared their side was going to advance on yellow cards – but their dreams were crushed when Saudi Arabia’s Salem Aldawsri scored in the 95th minute.
The late Saudi goal was not enough to change their fate but it did prevent Mexico from moving ahead, leaving Poland to advance to the next round by a single goal differential.