A scrutinizing look at fair play: Mexico flies dramatically close out of the World Cup

It almost should have been the fair play rating: Mexico is very close to being eliminated from the World Cup.

A scrutinizing look at fair play: Mexico flies dramatically close out of the World Cup

It almost should have been the fair play rating: Mexico is very close to being eliminated from the World Cup. In the end, only the goal difference speaks for group opponents Poland, since the Mexican victory against Saudi Arabia is not enough.

So much for Fiesta: Mexico's impressive streak at the World Cup has broken in a curious way. The Central Americans failed after seven rounds of 16 in a row despite a 2-1 (0-0) win in the heated group final against Saudi Arabia in the preliminary round - at times it even looked as if the fair play rating would have to decide.

Henry Martin (47') and Luis Chavez (52') shook the Lusail finals stadium with their goals, but ultimately it wasn't enough. Salem Aldawsari (90.5) scored for Saudi Arabia, who are also out.

For the round of 16, the Mexicans were just one goal shy of passing Robert Lewandowski's Poland. With four points and 2:3 goals, Mexico is eliminated in third place from Group C. Argentina around Lionel Messi secured first place (six points), Poland took second place with four points. Saudi Arabia, who had sensationally won 2-1 against the Argentines at the start, are the last to travel home.

Both teams immediately opened their sights in front of 84,985 spectators in the incredibly loud Lusail finals stadium. The Mexicans broke through for the first time after just three minutes, but Alexis Vega was saved by Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais. On the other side, Mohamed Kanno flicked a free kick just over the top from a central position. It went back and forth at crazy speed - with advantages for Mexico.

Coach Gerardo Martino's team unwound an eerie streak, attempting to wreak havoc on the opposition. "El Tri" also managed that at times, but the tactically clever Saudis adjusted to it as the season progressed. Mexico rarely came dangerously into the sixteen. Ali Al-Hassan then headed wide in stoppage time in the first half.

Mexico then got off to a flying start in the second half. Martin scored the first goal of the tournament for the Central Americans from a short distance after a corner, a little later Chavez hammered a free kick from 25 meters into the right angle. The eight-time Gold Cup winner now had four attackers in the front line, and the pressure increased by the minute. But the goal was achieved by the opponent.

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