World Cup 2022: Mexico eliminated in group stage for first time since 1978

FP511Mexico’s Kevin Alvarez retracts after the World Cup group C soccer match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) Manu Fernandez/AP

World Cup 2022: Mexico eliminated in group stage for first time since 1978

Jack Birle

November 30, 05:43 PM November 30, 05:43 PM

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Despite beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 Wednesday, Mexico was eliminated in the group stage for the first time since the 1978 World Cup.

Argentina and Poland were the teams that advanced out of Group C, with Poland beating out Mexico for second place in the group based on goal differential.


El Tri needed to make up a net difference of five goals to advance. Poland lost to Argentina 2-0, meaning Mexico needed to win by three goals to move on, but they only beat Saudi Arabia by one goal.

After a scoreless first half, Mexico scored fast in the second half by netting goals in the 47th and 52nd minutes. The Mexican team was only one goal away from moving past Poland for second in the group standings.

In the 87th minute, Mexico thought they had scored the goal to put them ahead of Poland in the standings, but the goal was negated by an offside. Saudi Arabia would then score a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time in the second half.

Mexico had advanced to the group stage in every World Cup since 1978, with the exceptions of 1982 where they failed to qualify, and 1990 where they were banned due to using overage players in an under-20 tournament.

The failure to advance is the latest in several disappointments recently by El Tri, which includes losses to the U.S. in the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup championships in 2021, as well as failing to beat Canada or the U.S. in the 2022 World Cup qualifying.

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Mexico is set to co-host the 2026 World Cup with the U.S. and Canada. Of the three countries, the United States was the only one to advance past the group stage.

The U.S. plays the Netherlands in the round of 16 on Saturday at 10 a.m. EST and will be televised on Fox.

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