Saudi Arabia 1 x 2 Mexico

A victory with a sad ending. That was Mexico’s feeling after beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 today (30th) at the Lusail stadium. The result was insufficient, and both teams are eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar.

The Mexican goals were scored by Henry Martín and Luis Chávez, while Salem Al-Dawsari decreased for the Saudis already in additions.

Mexico falls in the group stage for the first time since 1978 — in the last seven Cups played, they advanced to the knockout stage, being eliminated only in the round of 16. Saudi Arabia, in turn, only depended on itself, but wasted the opportunity to go to the knockout stage for the second time in its history – the last time was 28 years ago, in 1994, when it ended up eliminated by Sweden in the round of 16.

In Group C, advanced Argentina and Poland, in that order, facing Australia and France, respectively, in the first knockout phase of this Cup.

Mexico dominates first half

Mexico was the owner of the initial stage of the duel at the Lusail stadium. With game volume and high marking lines, Tata Martino’s team had control of the game in the first 45 minutes, but continued without swinging the nets in the Cup. The first chance of danger was just at 2, when Vega received it facing the goal, but stopped in goalkeeper Al-Owais. Luis Chávez and Pineda also had good opportunities to score, but failed to finish.

Mexico's Jesus Gallardo and Luis Chavez score Saudi Arabia's Firas Al Brikan - DeFodi Images via Getty Images - DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo and Luis Chavez mark Saudi Arabia’s Firas Al Brikan

Image: DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Arabia creates little and makes a lot of mistakes in the 1st stage

If against Argentina and Poland Saudi Arabia achieved solid collective performances, against Mexico history was not repeated in the first half. Coach Hervé Renard’s strategy of starting the team with a high defensive line was maintained, but Mexico had good tactical reading and managed to neutralize the Arabs. In the initial stage, there were only two chances of danger: the first foul taken by Kanno, at 12 minutes, and the other with a header out of Al-Hassan, at 50 minutes.

Henry Martín makes Mexico’s 1st in the Cup

It will not be in 2022 that Mexico will finish a Cup without scoring a goal. At 2 minutes of the second half, Henry Martín took advantage of Montes’ backheel to send it to the back of the net and remove the Mexicans’ goal scream from the fans’ throats.

Henry Martín celebrates Mexico's first goal with Edson Álvarez during the game against Saudi Arabia - Patrick Smith - FIFA via Getty Images - Patrick Smith - FIFA via Getty Images

Henry Martín celebrates Mexico’s first goal with Edson Álvarez, during a game against Saudi Arabia

Image: Patrick Smith – FIFA via Getty Images

Here comes Chávez, Chávez, Chávez!

Mexico’s second did not take long to come out. And it was a great goal, which will certainly be a strong candidate for the most beautiful goal in the Cup. In the 7th minute of the final stage, Luis Chávez took a long-distance free-kick and put the ball in the angle of goalkeeper Al-Owais to increase the score in Lusail.

Offsides take away two goals (and the standings)

The start of Mexico’s second half was overwhelming. After scoring two “lightning goals”, the third almost came out. At 10, Lozano finished low and scored, but the referee caught Henry Martín offside in the move. At 41 minutes, the Mexicans had another goal disallowed for offside, this one scored by Antuna. One goal would be enough for Mexico to advance to the knockout stage…

endless pressure

Mexican dominance was even greater in the second half. After opening 2-0 and having a goal disallowed, the Mexicans launched themselves more and more to the attack. Lozano led the team, and Luis Chávez, Henry Martín, Antuna and Pineda had chances to expand, but failed to succeed and saw Mexico eliminated from the Cup.

Saudi punishment ends score

Mexico was showered with cold water just when they were pressing the hardest in search of the goal needed to qualify for the round of 16. At 49 minutes, in a Saudi counterattack, Salem Al-Dawsari scored and ended the hope of the team of Ochoa, Lozano and company. In the stands, the Saudis left the stadium even before the ball entered the net.

The weather at the stadium

Saudi Arabia and Mexico have two of the biggest crowds in Qatar for the World Cup. No wonder the duel was held at the Lusail stadium, stage of the World Cup final, on December 18. Even due to the proximity of the country to the World Cup venue, the Arabs were in greater numbers in the stands. Mexicans also showed up in good numbers, but they were a minority.

After Mexico’s goals, in the second half, the Arabs felt the moment and fell silent in the stands. The Mexican crowd, even outnumbered, cheered.

DATASHEET

SAUDI ARABIA 1 x 2 MEXICO

Competition: World Cup, 3rd round of Group C
Date and time: November 30, 2022 (Wednesday), at 4 pm (Brasília time)
Place: Lusail stadium in Qatar
Public: 84,985
Referee: Michael Oliver (England)
Assistants: Stuart Burt (England) and Simon Bennett (England)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)
Yellow cards: Al-Shehri, Al-Hassan, Al-Tambakti, Madu, Al-Amri (SAU); Edson Álvarez (MEX)

Goals: Henry Martín (MÉX), at 2’/2ºQ (0-1), Luis Chávez (MÉX), at 7’/2ºT (0-2), Salem Al-Dawsari (SAU), at 49’/2ºT (1- two)

SAUDI ARABIA: Al-Owais; Al-Ghanam (Bahbri), Al-Amri, Al-Tambakti and Al-Bulayhi (Sharahili); Abdulhamid, Al-Hassan (Madu) and Kanno; Salem Al-Dawsari, Al-Brikan and Al-Shehri (Al-Obud). Technician: Herve Renard

MEXICO: Ochoa; Jorge Sánchez (Kevin Álvarez), Montes, Héctor Moreno and Gallardo; Edson Álvarez (Funes Mori), Luis Chávez and Pineda (Carlos Rodríguez); Vega (Antuna), Henry Martín (Raúl Jiménez) and Lozano. Technician: Tata Martino

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