World Cup 2022: Mexico v Saudi Arabia match preview

This is a must-win game for Mexico, who have yet to score at this World Cup and face a Saudi team who beat Argentina.

Saudi Arabia players
Saudi Arabia head into this match with three points [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Who: Mexico v Saudi Arabia, Group C

Where: Lusail Stadium

When: Wednesday, November 30, 6pm (15:00 GMT)

FIFA Ranking: Mexico (13), Saudi Arabia (51)

It is a game neither side can afford to lose.

El Tri, as the Mexican team are known, have not scored even once this tournament, playing out a goalless draw against Poland in their opener, followed by a 2-0 loss to Argentina. Now they need to beat the Green Falcons, as Saudi Arabia are known, by at least three goals in their final Group C game if they are to guarantee a spot in the last 16.

If Mexico win but with a lower margin, they will need Poland to beat Argentina in a match that will be played at the same time. That combination of results would see Mexico and Poland qualifying for the next round.

Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa conceded two goals against Argentina on Saturday [Molly Darlington/Reuters]

Tata Martino, the Mexican coach, has indicated that he expects both teams to go all-out in this must-win match. “Saudi Arabia need to win the match and score goals, and so do we”, he said ahead of the game.

Saudi Arabia head into this match with three points, having recorded a major World Cup upset in their first match by beating Argentina 2-1.

Saudi team celebrates after winning 1-2 in Argentina v Saudi Arabia at the Lusail stadium. November 22, Doha, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

They were unlucky to lose 2-0 to Poland on Saturday. After conceding in the first half, Saudi Arabia had a penalty saved by an inspired Wojciech Szczęsny just before the break. Robert Lewandowski secured a hard-fought Polish win late in the second half.

A win will see Saudi Arabia automatically progress to the last 16. But they can only qualify with a draw if Argentina lose to Poland.

Interactive - World Cup - head to head - Saudi Arabia v mexico
[Al Jazeera]

Mexico have never lost to Saudi Arabia. And they’ve made the knockout stages in each of the last seven World Cups.

But they head into this fixture low on confidence after two lacklustre World Cup performances and a string of defeats to Sweden, Colombia and Paraguay in the build-up to the tournament. And as the football world now knows well, Saudi Arabia like springing surprises.


Source: Al Jazeera