Group C in the 2022 FIFA World Cup comes to a close on Wednesday with Mexico and Saudi Arabia both looking to qualify when the two sides clash at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. Saudi Arabia currently sit third in the group on three points thanks to their historic upset over Argentina in the first matchday while Mexico are currently fourth with just a point. Saudi Arabia can guarantee themselves just their second ever appearance in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 with a win over Mexico, while they would do so as group winners with a win and a draw between Argentina and Poland. A draw would only see the Green Falcons through should Argentina lose to Poland while a loss sees them eliminated from the competition.
Mexico face a massive challenge to make it to the knockout stages for an incredible eighth consecutive World Cup. A draw in their opening match against Poland followed by a 2-0 defeat to Argentina has El Tri in a precarious position heading into the final matchday. First things first, Mexico has to win against Saudi Arabia to even have a chance at progressing. A win by four or more goals against the Saudis would see them qualify automatically, while a Mexico win coupled with a Poland win would also see Gerardo Martino’s side through. Should Argentina vs Poland finish in a draw then Mexico would need to win this match by at least three goals.
Mexico are still yet to score in Qatar but will have to play with reckless abandon in this encounter. Mexico Manager Martino will be forced to set his side up with an attacking mentality as El Tri simply need goals to retain control over their own destiny. They could be without influential midfielder Andres Guardado after the 36-year-old was forced off in the first half against Argentina. It’s very likely we see Ajax man Edson Alvarez back in the squad as well as Wolves striker Raul Jiminez as Mexico are likely to revert back to a 4-3-3 formation. Saudi Arabia will be without midfielder Abudulelah Al-Malki after the 28-year-old picked up his second yellow card in the defeat to Poland but manager Herve Renard will be able to call upon Riyad Sharahili after the defensive-minded midfielder returned to training. Yasir Al-Shahrani and Salman Al-Faraj are the only two absences Renard will have to deal with ahead of the matchup against Mexico.
Mexico find themselves needing to attack from the very first minute if they want to maximize their chances of qualifying for an eighth consecutive knockout round appearance. This will likely see Saudi Arabia looking to hit the Mexicans on the counterattack as manager Herve Renard will be sure to have his side set up with their usual defensive discipline. Viewers should expect a back and forth game here as Saudi Arabia will likely also need a win given Argentina’s current status as favorites over Poland. For this reason we’re backing over 2.5 goals to be scored in the match as our bet for this one.
If you want more information and predictions, check out the Saudi Arabia v Mexico prediction and betting tips at Sportytrader.