WORLD CUP 2022
What is Mexico’s record in previous matches against Saudi Arabia?
Mexico must defeat Saudi Arabia to have any chance of progressing to the round of 16 of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Mexico go into Wednesday’s match against Saudi Arabia with one sole, clear objective: win. Any other result will see El Tri fail to make it past the World Cup group stage for the first time since Argentina in 1978 (although they didn’t qualify for the 1982 World Cup and were banned from the tournament in 1990). Of course, they will also have to hope the result in the Argentina vs Poland fixture goes their way if they are to have any chance of progressing to the knockout rounds in the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
A draw against Poland, which could have been a defeat had goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa not saved Robert Lewandowski’s penalty, followed by a defeat to Argentina, many people’s favourites to win the tournament, has left Gerardo Martino’s men at the foot of Group B. Mexico’s saving grace is that no team was able win their first two games and their final one is against Saudi Arabia, the weakest team in the group on paper. And we must stress those words – ‘on paper’ – as the Asian side shocked the Argentinians in the opening game in the group and are in a better position to go through to the knockout rounds than El Tri.
Mexico’s previous meetings with Saudi Arabia
History is, at least, on Mexico’s side. The North Americans have never lost to Saudi Arabia in five previous meetings. Coincidentally, each took place within a five-year spell from the mid-to-late 90s, three in the now-disbanded Confederations Cup, which was contested by the holders of the different continental championships, and two in friendly matches.
6 January 1995 – Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico – Confederations Cup
The first three Confederations Cups all took place in Saudi Arabia and 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico defeated the hosts in a three-team group, with Luis García scoring twice. They failed to make the final by a whisker, losing to Denmark in a penalty shoot-out decider after the two teams had finished level on points, goals scored and goals against in the group.
11 October 1995 – Mexico 2-1 Saudi Arabia – Friendly
Claudio Suárez and Javier Lozano scored the goals as Mexico saw off the Saudis in Los Angeles in a friendly which took place just a couple of months before the 1996 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which Mexico also won.
14 December 1997 - Saudi Arabia 0-5 Mexico – Confederations Cup
The last time Saudi Arabia hosted the Confederations Cup. Despite thrashing the host nation by five goals to nil, Mexico lost to both Brazil and Australia and were eliminated in the group stages. Francisco Palencia and Cuauhtemoc Blanco both netted twice, with Braulio Luna completing the scoring.
3 June 1998 – Mexico 0-0 Saudi Arabia – Friendly
An uneventful goalless draw in Créteil in France just a week before the 1998 World Cup got underway. Mexico, as has become custom, would go out at the round of 16 stage, while Saudi Arabia failed to make it out of their group.
25 July 1999 – Mexico 5-1 Saudi Arabia - Confederations Cup
Four goals for the aforementioned Blanco and another for José Manuel Abundis set Mexico on the path to Confederations Cup glory on home soil, with a 4-3 victory over an admittedly under-strength Brazil in the final the undoubted highlight.
Special thanks to our friends over at Sofascore for the graphics.