Monday, June 17, 2024

Mexico’s World Cup survival hinges on next match after 2-0 loss to Argentina

Mexico’s chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup are diminished – but not extinguished – after El Tri lost 2-0 to Argentina in Qatar on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, Argentine captain Lionel Messi broke the deadlock in the 64th minute with a low shot that eluded the outstretched arms of Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to sneak inside the right post.

Midfielder Enzo Fernández added a second goal to the scoresheet in the 87th minute when he curled a shot past Ochoa into the top right corner of the goal.

It was a disappointing day for the Gerardo Martino-coached Mexican team, which only managed to get one shot on target during the encounter, played at the Lusail Stadium north of Doha.

Legendary Argentine forward Lionel Messi scored the first goal of the game in the second half. FIFA World Cup Twitter

That shot was a free kick taken just before half time by Alexis Vega. The 25-year-old Mexico City native drilled a rapid shot at the top left corner of the Argentine goal, but goalkeeper Damián “Dibu” Martínez made a clean save to stop El Tri from taking the lead.

A two-minute highlights package of the match can be viewed on the FIFA website here.

Mexico has now played two matches at this World Cup without finding the back of the opposition’s net, as El Tri’s first group match against Poland ended in a 0-0 tie. La Selección Mexicana is now in fourth place among the four teams in Group C with a single point thanks to its tie last Tuesday.

Poland is on top with four points after its 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia earlier on Saturday, while Argentina and Saudi Arabia both have three points after a win and a loss apiece.

El Tri can still make the round of 16 – the top two teams from the eight groups advance to the knockout stage – but will have to defeat Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to have any chance.

A win against Saudia Arabia would allow Mexico to leapfrog the Middle East Kingdom and finish the group stage with four points. If that occurs, and Poland beats Argentina on Wednesday, El Tri will move on to the round of 16.

If Mexico defeats Saudi Arabia and Argentina beats Poland, both Mexico and Poland will finish on four points behind Argentina on six. In that scenario, the team with the superior goal difference will advance. Thus a convincing victory over Saudi Arabia would benefit El Tri’s cause.

If Mexico beats Saudi Arabia and the Argentina-Poland match ends in a tie, Mexico and Argentina will both finish on four points behind Poland on five. As in the previous scenario, the team with the superior goal difference will progress.

More details about World Cup tiebreakers and advancement scenarios are available in this Washington Post article.

In a press conference following Saturday’s defeat, Martino – an Argentine who coached the Argentina national team between 2014 and 2016 – acknowledged that El Tri still has a chance to reach the next round and play a fourth match.

“While there is a possibility, you always have to try,” he said. “[Saudi] Arabia needs to win and we do too. I have no doubt we’ll do everything [we can] to beat [Saudi] Arabia,” the 60-year-old director técnico said.

Mexico News Daily 

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