Saudi Arabia vs Mexico LIVE: Tata Martino leads his side into do-or-die final game, but even a win might not be enough… with El Tri facing their first group stage exit in 44 YEARS
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Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for the World Cup Group Group C clash between Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
The flags and drums are out, the sombreros and wrestling masks are on and Lusail Stadium is ready for a thriller under the lights…
After Tunisia’s shock 1-0 win against France earlier today, there are now just two teams left in the tournament without a goal – and Mexico is one of them.
But is that about to change?
The mexicans will be desperate to find the back of the net and leave Uruguay with the undesirable title of the sole goalless team.
Mexico: Ochoa, Sanchez, Montes, Moreno, Gallardo, Edson Alvarez, Chavez, Lozano, Pineda, Vega, Martin.
Subs: Talavera, Araujo, Vasquez, Arteaga, Romo, Rodriguez, Jimenez, Funes Mori, Cota, Gutierrez, Herrera, Guardado, Antuna, Alvarado, Kevin Alvarez.
Manager: Tata Martino
Those familiar with the English Premier League will recognise the referee tonight.
English referee Michael Oliver is in charge of Mexico’s must-win clash against Saudi Arabia.
Oliver has been a FIFA listed referee for ten years and was promoted to the UEFA Elite Group of Referees in 2018.
So far in this tournament, Oliver has overseen Japan vs Costa Rica, which ended in a 0-1 loss for the Asian side, throwing Group E wide open.
Saudi Arabia: Al-Owais, Tambakti, Al-Amri, Al-Bulayhi, Al-Ghanam, Al-Hassan, Kanno, Abdulhamid, Al-Buraikan, Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari.
Subs: Madu, Otayf, Al-Naji, Al-Abed, Bahbri, Al-Aboud, Al-Aqidi, Nasser Al-Dawsari, Asiri, Sharahili, Al-Rubaie.
Manager: Herve Renard
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 🆚 Mexico 🇲🇽
On our way! 🚌🔜🏟️#MéxicoDeMiVida | #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/OnwrBb5WIl
While the crowd will be a sea of green, it will be the Mexicans who will don the color with Saudi Arabia wearing its white home strip.
In the other Group D game, 2018 champions France were shockingly beaten by Tunisia – their first loss of the tournament.
Antoine Griezmann saw a last-minute equalizer ruled out through VAR as the underdogs held on for a famous 1-0 victory… but still crashed out of the World Cup.
However, Didier Deschamps’ men won’t be too concerned by the result as they had already booked their spot in the last 16 after winning their first two games.
In the earlier games today, the Socceroos have beaten Denmark 1-0 to make it out of Group D and into the knockout stages.
It is only the second time Australia has made it to the last 16 and the first since the 2006 World Cup.
After Mathew Leckie’s incredible goal sent them through, the Aussies will face the winner of Mexico and Saudi Arabia’s Group C.
With Mexico facing its first group-stage exit in 44 years – save a miracle today- head coach Tata Martino will resign following the tournament, according to reports.
It is said the decision was made back in July, prior to the Word Cup kicking off.
For more, click BELOW.
There’s still just under two and a half hours to go until kickoff but the fans are already arriving at the ground.
With sombreros, Dia de Muertos-inspired looks and Saudi Arabian flags worn as capes, the Lusail Stadium is going to be a sea of green tonight…
Mexico will return to the site of their devastating 2-0 defeat to Argentina as they face Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
The Lusail Stadium is 20km north of capital city Doha and has a capacity of 88,966, making it the biggest stadium in Qatar.
The Lusail Stadium is also ironically the site of Saudi Arabia’s shock upset over Argentina.
It will play host to five more matches throughout the tournament, including the final on December 18.
Can Mexico banish the ghost of defeat or will Saudi Arabia find fortune again?
Mexico have failed to score a single goal so far this tournament and fans believe a certain ‘little pea’ would have bolstered their chances in front of goal.
Supporters of El Tri took to social media following defeat to Argentina to blast head coach Tata Martino for not calling Javier Martinez up to the squad.
It was Chicharito himself who scored Mexico’s last World Cup goal back in 2018 against South Korea.
As frustration over Mexico’s attack grows, fans claim Chicharito would have found the back of the net by now…
Saudi Arabia and Mexico have played out five games against each other with the Mexicans maintaining a flawless record. Mexico has won four of their encounters and drawn one.
However, the two sides haven’t met since 1999, when El Tri thrashed the Saudis 5-1 in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Jan. 1995: Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico (FIFA Confederations Cup)
Oct. 1995: Mexico 2-1 Saudi Arabia (Friendly)
Dec. 1997: Saudi Arabia 0-5 Mexico (FIFA Confederations Cup)
Jun. 1998: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico (Friendly)
Jul. 1999: Mexico 5-1 Saudi Arabia (FIFA Confederations Cup)
Saudi Arabia head coach Herve Renard has issued a bold rallying call to his players as he urged them to make history and warned if they fail to do so, they will be forgotten.
‘For our players, it’s a very good generation,’ he said at a press conference Tuesday. ‘But if they want the fans to remember them, they have to make history. Otherwise, everybody will forget in 20 or 30 years. Because the last time Saudi Arabia reached the second round it was 1994, 28 years ago.’
Lionel Messi found himself in trouble with Mexican boxing legend Canelo Alvarez following Argentina’s win against Mexico.
Alvarez responded furiously to footage showing Messi seemingly kicking out at a stray Mexican jersey on the floor as they celebrated in the dressing room after their 2-0 victory.
But Andres Guardado has leapt to the defence of Messi after he was threatened by the boxing champion, saying the row was ‘silly’.
Saudi Arabia will once again be without Yasser Al-Shahrani who flew home after undergoing successful emergency surgery on his jaw.
The defender is said to have suffered a fractured jaw, broken facial bones and internal bleeding following a sickening collision with his own goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais in the Saudis’ famous giant-slaying of Argentina.
Herve Renard expected to name a similar starting XI to those that played the Argentina and Poland games.
But there will definitely be a change in midfield as Abdulelah Al-Malki is suspended after picking up two yellow cards.
Nawaf Al-Abed is the most likely deputy should Herve go for a similar profile, though Riyad Sharahili would provide a more defensive skillset.
Saudi Arabia squad
Goalkeepers: Mohamed Al-Owais, Nawaf Al-Aqidi, Mohamed Al-Yami.
Defenders: Yasser Al-Shahrani, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Abdulelah Al-Amri, Abdullah Madu, Hassan Tambakti, Sultan Al-Ghanam, Mohammed Al-Breik, Saud Abdulhamid.
Midfielders: Salman Al-Faraj, Riyadh Sharahili, Ali Al-Hassan, Mohamed Kanno, Abdulelah Al-Malki, Sami Al-Najei, Abdullah Otayf, Nasser Al-Dawsari, Abdulrahman Al-Aboud, Salem Al-Dawsari, Hattan Bahebri.
Forwards: Nawaf Al-Abed, Haitham Asiri, Saleh Al-Shehri, Firas Al-Buraikan.
With everything on the line, Mexico cannot afford to name a weakened side for their final group game as they currently sit bottom of Group C.
Tata Martino could look to make changes up front after Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega failed to have much impact in the defeat to Argentina but whether Raul Jimenez can be trusted to start amid his recent fitness issues remains to be seen.
Andres Guardado, who became the sixth men’s player to feature at five World Cups, was substituted with an injury in the first half against Argentina.
The captain explained he suffered a ‘knock’ during the game that forced the early substitution, but assured his availability against Saudi Arabia.
‘Physically I’m good. Unfortunately, I had a knock there against Argentina that wouldn’t let me continue, but I’m doing very well and I’m available for Tata [Martino] tomorrow, said the midfielder on Tuesday.
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera, Rodolfo Cota
Defenders: Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo, Nestor Araujo, Cesar Montes, Jorge Sanchez, Gerardo Arteaga, Kevin Alvarez, Johan Vasquez
Midfielders: Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Edson Alvarez, Orbelin Pineda, Uriel Antuna, Erick Gutierrez, Carlos Rodriguez, Roberto Alvarado, Luis Romo, Alexis Vega, Luis Chavez
Forwards: Raul Jimenez, Hirving Lozano Henry Martin, Rogelio Funes Mori
A reported 60,000 Saudi Arabia supporters have crossed the border for the crunch clash, leaving the Mexicans undoubtedly outnumbered.
With the odds already stacked against El Tri to make it out of the group, could this have an even bigger impact?
The Saudis have taken over Qatar!
Hearing 60,000 have crossed the border for the crunch #FIFAWorldCup game v #Mex.
Victory seals place in the knockout stage and they are UP for it. #KSA pic.twitter.com/GZGJcVuMo1
With everything on the line, former USA international Edu warned that the final matchday of Group C will be tough for El Tri.
‘Mexico is in trouble,’ he said on FOX Sports. ‘I think this is going to be a tough match for them. They haven’t scored a goal in the tournament thus far.’
For more click BELOW.
It’s do or die for Mexico if they want to have any hope of making it out of the group… but it’s not entirely in their hands.
Tata Martino’s team sits rock bottom of Group C after drawing its first game against Poland and losing its second 2-0 to Argentina in Qatar.
El Tri must win to have any hope but a victory alone is not enough. It also needs Poland to beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
Meanwhile, the Saudis know that a win against Mexico will see them progress for the first time since 1994.
Good morning – or afternoon, depending on where you are in the world – and welcome to Sportsmail’s live blog for Mexico’s crunch clash with Saudi Arabia at the World Cup.
It’s a huge game for both sides, and the build-up starts here, with less than four hours to go until kick-off…
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