Herve Renard’s Saudi Arabia were brought crashing back to earth at the weekend and lost the chance to secure a historic knockout spot. Their weekend saw highs and lows, including the high of defeating tournament favourites Argentina and the low of a 2-0 loss to Poland.
Following goals from Piotr Zielinski and Robert Lewandowski, the latter of whom scored his first World Cup goal at the age of 34, Wojciech Szczesny of Juventus turned in an inspired performance that helped Poland win.
Saudi Arabia still controls its own destiny despite falling to third place in Group C; three points against Mexico would guarantee passage to the knockout rounds for the first time since they advanced to the last 16 in 1994.
If Poland can help them out by defeating Argentina by at least three goals, a draw might even be sufficient, but with only four victories in their last 19 games across all competitions and a 6% World Cup clean sheet percentage, they don’t exactly exude confidence.
Meanwhile, Mexico learned the hard way about giving Lionel Messi too much time and space on the edge of the box over the weekend, as the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner set Argentina on their way to a pivotal 2-0 win to deepen their fellow Americans’ elimination concerns.
With 64 minutes remaining, Messi found the bottom corner before Benfica starlet Enzo Fernandez somehow secured the three points with a lovely curling effort, putting Mexico at serious risk of ending their remarkable run of top-two finishes.
El Tri has advanced to the knockout rounds of every World Cup since 1994, and they haven’t been eliminated in the group stage since 1978, but Gerardo Martino’s team can only qualify if Poland defeats Argentina, and they must also hope that the scoreline and/or goals go in their favour.
Mexico needs to defeat Saudi Arabia by four goals or more to qualify if Poland and Argentina draw, and they need a five-goal swing in their favour if Argentina defeats their European opponents due to their significantly worse goal difference.
Mexico, will also advance if they triumph and Poland defeats Argentina, but they haven’t helped themselves by failing to score in the 2022 edition thus far; of all the teams to have played two games thus far, only Tunisia have registered zero goals.
Mexico can find solace in the fact that they have a solid record against Saudi Arabia, with four victories and one tie in five encounters.
1×2 Betting Odds
Even after putting up an incredible performance against Argentina, Saudi Arabia are not the favourites in this one, it is Mexico. Their odds are @ 1.72.
Saudi Arabia are the clear underdogs in this with odds @ 5. Yet, only a fool will underestimate them as they have proven they can be giant killers.
The chances of a stalemate stand @ 4.3.
Total goals over/under
The odds that the total number of goals score will be over 2.5, stands @ 1.9.
While the odds that the total number of goals will be under 2.5, stands @ 2.02.
Goal-fests have not been a theme of the 2022 World Cup so far, but an end-to-end encounter should be on the menu here given what is at stake for both sides, especially two who could be a bit more exposed in midfield.