As Saudi Arabia and Mexico gear up for their matchup on Wednesday at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, the race to qualify from World Cup 2022 Group C is expected to be extremely tight.
All four teams still have a chance to advance to the round of 16, with at least one of Argentina and one of Poland expected to lose their top-two matchup.
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Saudi Arabia vs Mexico Betting odds
Saudi Arabia vs Mexico Tips and Prediction
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 favorites 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 outstanding 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 would even be sufficient, but with only four victories in their past 19 games across all competitions and a 6% World Cup clean sheet percentage, they don’t exactly exude confidence.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner led Argentina to a crucial victory over Mexico over the weekend, increasing the concerns of their fellow Americans about elimination. Meanwhile, Mexico learned the hard way not to give Lionel Messi too much time and space on the edge of the box.
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 win if Poland defeats Argentina, and they must also hope that the scoreline and/or goals go in their favor.
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 favor if Argentina defeats their European opponents due to their significantly worse goal difference.
Mexico, on the other hand, will 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 also registered zero goals.
Although the most recent of their five meetings with Saudi Arabia was back in 1999, Mexico can take some comfort in the fact that they have a strong record of four victories and a draw from those encounters. Renard’s team should have no fear in their pursuit of the highly desired top-two finish.
The reason Poland and Argentina want to win on Wednesday is that, if either nation places second in Group C, they would probably play the defending world champions France in the round of 16.
But if Messi and company can work together in the final third, Scaloni’s squad ought to be able to upset their European rivals and win the championship. Another upset in this game is not completely out of the question because Poland have the potential to cause Argentina trouble.