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Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

Goals from Henry Martín and Luis Chávez were canceled out in the end by a late consolation finish from Salem Aldawsari, denying Mexico a chance to progress to the knockout stage due to inferior goal difference

Hearts are breaking in Mexico City tonight after CONCACAF outfit Mexico failed to overturn their inferior goal differential and secure passage into the round of sixteen of the 2022 World Cup after an upsetting 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia at Lusail Iconic Stadium.

A quick-strike flurry of goals from Henry Martín and Luis Chávez just seven minutes after the half-time interval was not enough to seal the dramatic reversal of fortunes that millions were hoping for tonight before the pair of goals were ultimately canceled out in the end by a late consolation finish from Salem Aldawsari.

Argentina played their part in a 2-0 win over Poland – who have now ultimately qualified for the next round – during the other crunch Group C clash, but Mexico’s inability to fire in front of goal from earlier on proved a decisive talking point on the night after El Tri struggled in front of goal all tournament and came into proceedings without a single goal to their name.

Their failure to secure a birth in the knockout stage this winter comes as the first time they have not progressed out of group play since 1978. After failing to qualify for the 1982 World Cup, Mexico returned as host nation for the second time in 1986 and reached the quarterfinals in front of home support; the joint-deepest run they have ever made at a World Cup, matching their efforts in 1970.

After being banned from the competition in 1990, Mexico began a run of seven consecutive tournaments starting in 1994 that saw them get out of group play and into the knockout stage; a run that has now come to an end.

Serious questions about the next steps for the Mexican Football Federation as it comes to grips with the progress shown by both Canada and the United States during qualifying and what is to come as the trio of nations prepare to host the tournament in 2026.

Saudi Arabia Player Ratings

  • Mohammed Alowais (GK): 7.5
  • Sultan Alghannam (RB): 6
  • Abdulelah Alamri (CB): 6
  • Hassan Altambakti (CB): 6
  • Ali Albulayhi (LB): 6.5
  • Saud Abdulhamid (DM): 6
  • Ali Alhassan (CM): 6.5
  • Mohammed Kanno (CM): 6.5
  • Feras Albrikan (RW): 6
  • Salem Aldawsari (LW): 6.5
  • Saleh Alshehri (CF): 6
  • Riyadh Sharahili (Sub): 6
  • Abdullah Madu (Sub): 6.5
  • Abdulrahman Al Obud (Sub): 6
  • Hattan Bahbri (Sub): 6

Mexico Player Ratings

  • Guillermo Ochoa (GK): 7
  • Jorge Sánchez (RB): 6.5
  • Héctor Moreno (CB): 6.5
  • César Montes (CB): 7.5
  • Jesús Gallardo (LB): 7
  • Edson Álvarez (DM): 7.5
  • Luis Chávez (CM): 8.5
  • Orbelín Pineda (CM): 7
  • Hirving Lozano (RW): 7.5
  • Alexis Vega (LW): 6
  • Henry Martín (CF): 7.5
  • Uriel Antuna (Sub): 6.5
  • Carlos Rodríguez (Sub): 6
  • Raúl Jiménez (Sub): 6
  • Rogelio Funes Mori (Sub): 6
  • Kevin Álvarez (Sub): 6

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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