Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2022. 4:43 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Expansión
By Rubén Morales Iglesias
Mexico had two goals ruled offside in their 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia 2-1 and failed to qualify for the Round of 16. The last time they failed to advance beyond the group stage was in 1978.
Mexico and Saudi Arabia played a hard first half fighting for dominance in the game in front of 84,985 fans at the Lusail Stadium in Al Daayen. Mexico had better opportunities but was unable to unlock the Saudi defense. Saudi Arabia also pushed forward but like their opponents didn’t have any luck. In the last play of the first half, Saudi Arabia missed a great opportunity with a wide header.
Up to that point, Mexico were still suffering from a lack of goals in this World Cup creating opportunities but not being able to finish. Saudi Arabia, after their win over Argentina, seemed lost not being able to find their luck again having lost to Poland, and today despite their advances were going empty against Mexico.
Mexico finally broke their duck in the 47th minute as Henry Martin was able to clip the ball inside the box off a pass from the left, beating the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper, Mohammed Alowais.
At that moment, Mexico needed to be winning by three as Argentina had scored at the 974 Stadium in Doha and was leading 1-0 over Poland.
So, they kept pushing forward and took a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute with Luis Chavez scoring from a long free kick to the far-right upper corner. Chavez had just scored a superb goal for Mexico, both in form and importance, as it put them back in contention. With Argentina still leading 1-0 over Poland, Mexico still needed one more goal to get over Poland.
And they did. Hirving Lozano scored in the 56th minute but it was ruled offside.
Saudi Arabia went into disarray after Mexico’s second goal but try as they may Mexico couldn’t grab the opportunity. They kept pushing forward but their chances were all going wide or stopped by the Saudi defense.
However, in the 87th minute, Uriel Antuna put the ball in the net, but he was also ruled offside. That was the fifth goal called offside against Saudi Arabia. The first three were all by Argentina in their 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.
Running out of time Mexico pressed on with an all-out offensive but kept wasting the breaks.
The Argentina game over with a 2-0 score had Poland on their toes expectant of what was happening in the Mexico game. If Mexico scored, they would be out, but to their luck, it was the other way around
Saudi Arabia, who seemed to have given up, mounted a counterattack and proved successful when Salem Aldawsari scored deep into injury time (90’+5’). The Polish team erupted in celebration as they had just received their ticket to the Round of 16.
Mexico now had to score two goals in less than two minutes. That just wasn’t possible, and Mexico will be packing their bags. After eight World Cups of consecutive runs beyond the group stage (except Italy in 1990 when they didn’t participate because they were banned for fielding over-aged players for the 1988 Olympics), they were eliminated and will be taking the next flight home.
Poland, with 4 points, qualified behind Argentina (6 points) on goal difference over Mexico. Saudi Arabia, with three, were also eliminated.
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