Skip to content
Full Time After Extra Time This is a live match. Extra Time Half Time

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico. FIFA World Cup Group C.

Lusail Iconic StadiumAttendance84,985.

Saudi Arabia 1

  • S Al-Dawsari (95th minute)

Mexico 2

  • H Martín (47th minute)
  • L Chávez (52nd minute)

World Cup 2022 - Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico: Salem Al-Dawsari ends Mexican hopes with late goal

Match report as Salem Al-Dawsari's late strike breaks Mexico hearts as spirited comeback falls short; Second-half goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez left Mexico on verge of unlikely qualification out of Group C before crushing first group-stage elimination since 1978

Mexico players look crestfallen as their World Cup journey ends
Image: Mexico players look crestfallen as their World Cup journey ends

Mexico dramatically missed out on the World Cup knockout phase despite a spirited 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia, as Poland progressed as Group C runners-up by virtue of a superior goal difference.

In a thrilling finale to Group C at the Lusail Stadium, Henry Martin's opener (47) and Luis Chavez's spectacular free-kick (52), combined with Argentina's 2-0 victory over Poland, left Mexico with three stoppage-time minutes to find the third goal needed to avoid exiting the group due to an inferior fair play points total.

Saudi Arabia's hopes of securing victory needed to seal their progress into the last 16 failed to get off the ground but, out of nowhere, Salem Al-Dawsari struck in stoppage-time to all but end Mexico's hopes of leapfrogging Poland.

The result means Group C winners Argentina will face Australia on Saturday and runners-up Poland will take on France in the last 16 on Sunday, as Mexico reflect on what might have been having left themselves with too much to do after announcing their arrival at the tournament in the final group game.

World Cup Group C final table
Image: World Cup Group C final table

Player ratings

Saudi Arabia: Al-Owais (6), Tambakti (5), Al-Amri (5), Al-Bulayhi (5), Al-Ghanam (6), Al-Hassan (5), Kanno (5), Abdulhamid (5), Al-Buraikan (5), Al-Shehri (5), Al-Dawsari (6).

Subs: Madu (5), Al-Aboud (5), Sharahili (6), Bahebri (n/a).

Mexico: Ochoa (6), Sanchez (6), Montes (6), Moreno (6), Gallardo (6), Edson Alvarez (6), Chavez (8), Lozano (6), Pineda (7), Vega (6), Martin (8).

Subs: Rodriguez (5), Jimenez (5), Funes Mori (n/a), Antuna (6), Kevin Alvarez (n/a).

Player of the match: Luis Chavez

Big moments in the game...

  • 3 mins: Mohammed Al-Owais races off his line to smother Alexis Vega’s shot as Mexico denied opener
  • 45+6 mins: Ali Al-Hassan heads Saudi Arabia’s best chance wide in stoppage-time
  • 47 mins: Henry Martin latches onto near-post flick from a corner to give Mexico lead
  • 52 mins: Luis Chavez’s sensational free-kick doubles Mexico’s advantage
  • 90+5 mins: Salem Al-Dawsari ends Mexico hopes with late consolation

How Mexico were denied in thrilling Group C finale

Orbelin Pineda fails to score with a diving header
Image: Orbelin Pineda fails to score with a diving header

The drama and tension that was to come was encapsulated by the national anthems, where the majority Saudi crowd's passionate rendition was matched by the Mexican contingent. It very nearly propelled Mexico into an early lead, but Alexis Vega's third-minute strike was brilliantly smothered by Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais.

Team news

  • Hassan Tambakti, Saud Abdulhamid and Ali Al-Hassan started as Saudi Arabia made three changes following the defeat to Poland.
  • Jorge Sanchez, Edson Alvarez, Orbelin Pineda and Henry Martin returned as Mexico made four changes to the side beaten by Argentina.

Mohamed Kanno lashed over from a tight angle and Saudi captain Salem Al-Dawsari whistled a free-kick inches over the bar inside 12 minutes before the frenetic start settled and Mexico began to take a grip of the game.

Abdulelah Al Amri and Hassan Altambakti joined forces to block Oberlin Pineda's block midway through the half before the Mexico playmaker's diving header was brilliantly blocked by Sultan Al Ghanam moments later.

Also See:

Henry Martin celebrates after opening the scoring for Mexico against Saudi Arabia
Image: Henry Martin celebrates after opening the scoring for Mexico against Saudi Arabia

Ali Al-Hassan glanced a header wide in stoppage-time for Saudi Arabia, but the half belonged to the much-improved Mexicans, who took just two minutes to assert their authority after the break when Henry Martin converted Cesar Montes' flick from a corner to hand them the lead.

Mexico's first goal of the tournament unleashed the shackles, and a second came five minutes later, Chavez's sensational long-range free-kick doubling their advantage to move them to within a goal of cancelling out Poland's goal difference advantage.

Luis Chavez celebrates after his free-kick gives Mexico a 2-0 lead over Saudi Arabia
Image: Luis Chavez celebrates after his free-kick gives Mexico a 2-0 lead over Saudi Arabia

News of Argentina's second goal against Poland brought Mexico level with the Poles on points and on goal difference, but their inferior fair play points total left them searching for another goal to qualify.

After Martin saw an effort ruled out for offside, the striker blasted a glorious volley over and Chavez was denied a second spectacular free-kick by the diving Al-Owais before Pineda whistled a shot wide with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Uriel Antuna thought he had scored the goal to send Mexico through two minutes from time, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside. News of Argentina's victory filtered through but with a crucial third goal not forthcoming, Mexico's desperation left them exposed defensively and Al-Dawsari pounced to extinguish their hopes.

Salem Al-Dawsari scores a consolation goal for Saudi Arabia against Mexico
Image: Salem Al-Dawsari scores a consolation goal for Saudi Arabia against Mexico

Martino: My contract expired at final whistle

After the game, Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino confirmed his reign was over following his side's exit from the tournament.

Former Barcelona boss Martino, who has been in charge of Mexico since January 2019, said: "The contract expired with the final whistle and there is nothing else to do.

"I am the man responsible for the frustration and disappointment.

"It is real sadness and I assume all the responsibility for this huge failure."

'We deserved to lose by more'

Saudi Arabia head coach Herve Renard said: "The result does not reflect the reality of the match, as we deserved to lose by more goals had it not been for Al-Owais. He saved us in the third minute and we couldn't handle Mexico's intensity and enthusiasm in the duels.

"We suffered physically, and we had to adapt to the injury of defender Ali Al-Bulaihi. Mexico were the better team, and we knew that they would play aggressively in order to score more goals to qualify for the next round.

"The squad includes 26 players, and we have to deal with what we have. Yes, injuries affected us, but they are not an excuse. Against Poland, we were the better team, but we weren't efficient in the last third, but today we played poorly."

'We didn't even reach the fourth game'

Mexico goalscorer Luis Chavez said: "We are very frustrated. After the first two games we were left with a lot to do and this last one was not enough for us.

"We didn't have any goals and we had a lack of attention at the back today and it ended up leaving us out.

"We will see what happens next, those of us who have to leave this national team, this cannot happen to Mexico. We had set ourselves the goal of the fifth game and we didn't even reach the fourth."

Group-stage heartbreak for Mexico - Opta stats

  • Mexico have been eliminated in the group stages of the World Cup for the first time since 1978 - they had progressed from the group stages in each of their previous eight participations.
  • Saudi Arabia have been eliminated in the group stages for the fifth time in six participations at the World Cup (1998, 2002, 2006, 2018 and 2022). The exception was in 1994 when they reached the Round of 16.
  • Mexico's Henry Martin scored his country's first goal at the 2022 World Cup - it was their 29th effort at goal at the tournament.
  • Saudi Arabia received 14 yellow cards in the 2022 World Cup group stage, a new record for a team in a single group stage in World Cup history.
Super 6 Activates International Mode!
Super 6 Activates International Mode!

Super 6 is going International! Could you win £100,000 for free? Entries by 7pm Friday.

Around Sky