Mexico confirmed starting lineup for game 3 of the group stage vs Saudi Arabia
With a place in the Round of 16 on the line, these two old foes will do battle for the first time in more than two decades. Who will come out on top?
You can follow the live action of the crucial game between Mexico and Saudi Arabia on As.com.
A win for the Kingdom would essentially assure them a spot in the next round, while a victory for El Tri would give them a chance, but they’d have to depend on results elsewhere to go in their favor. Here’s a look at the starting 11s for Mexico and Saudi Arabia as well as other points to note.
Mexico vs Saudi Arabia: The story so far
When Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina in the opening game of Group C, it was without doubt the upset of the tournament and perhaps the biggest in quite a few years’ worth of international football. Unfortunately, the joy and jubilation were short-lived, as the Saudis found themselves on the wrong end of 2-0 score line in a defeat suffered at the hands of Poland. To make matters worse, manager has also been forced to make a lineup change ahead of their date with Mexico due to defender Abdulelah Al-Malki’s outing which culminated with the mistake that led to Robert Lewandowski’s goal and a second yellow card for the competition. With that, Al-Malki will now serve out a one game suspension as his team attempts to qualify for the Round of 16.
Where Mexico is concerned, the truth is ‘El Tri’ have got their backs against the wall following their loss to Argentina. Worse yet, is the fact that they’ve also got some lineup worries of their own, with veteran midfielder Andres Guardado having limped off with an unspecified injury during the first half of their 0-0 draw with Poland. Now sitting on just one point, it’s all-or-nothing for Mexico at this point. On the other hand, manager Gerard Martino will still have some decent options at his disposal. Though dropped at the weekend, it’s highly likely we’ll see Edson Alvarez back in action, as well as Erick Gutierrez. Expect fireworks in this one.
Mexico: Who to watch?
Though Guardado’s potential absence will be a blow to Mexico, there is still Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega up front. On the other hand, the big news out of the camp is the likelihood that Raul Jimenez will at last see action. The Wolves forward has finally been deemed fit to play after struggling with injury and will be a welcome sight in what will be his 100th appearance for ‘El Tri.’ Should the aforementioned pair be able to link up with Jimenez, they will undoubtedly cause problems for a Saudi defense that’s going to be without one of its best players.
Saudi Arabia: Who to watch?
Despite the loss of Al-Malki, there is good news for the Kingdom. Firstly, Riyad Sharahili has returned from injury and truthfully, it couldn’t be at a better time. The 29-year-old may start on the bench, having just returned but even that is better than not being present at all. Mention should also be made of Nawaf Al-Abed, who looks set to stand in should Sharahili not be up to the task, which means Mohamed Kanno will likely play a deeper role for the Saudis. Up top, all eyes will be on Salem Al-Dawsari who is on the hunt for a third World Cup goal, which would draw him level with Sami Al Jaber as Saudi Arabia’s record scorer at the competition. Following his heroics against Argentina, it would be a mistake not to keep an eye on him.
Mexico vs Saudi Arabia: The head-to-head
Here’s a look at the series history between the two sides as they prepare for what will be the 6th meeting between them:
Mexico vs Saudi Arabia: Confirmed Starting 11s
Mexico: Ochoa; Sánchez, Moreno, Montes, Gallardo; Pineda, Álvarez, Chávez; Lozano, Martín, Vega
Saudi Arabia: Alowais, Alghannam, Alamri, Altambakti, Albulayhi, Alhassan, Abdulhambid, Kanno, Aldawsari, Alshehri, Albrikan