Mexico vs Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022: Mexico looking to seal knockout stage slot with win in Group C
Wed, Nov. 30, 4pm ET
November 30 sees a potentially decisive World Cup Group C game in Mexico vs Saudi Arabia, with a place in the knockout rounds of the tournament expected to be on the line for the CONCACAF side, who should be locked in a race with Poland and perhaps even Argentina to qualify.
The Mexico World Cup games are tricky to call this winter but taking on Saudi Arabia - probably the weakest team in the group - in the final matchday might play in their favor. It will help that Poland and Argentina will face one another at the same time and can’t both take maximum points.
Pic: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports
Mexico will be looking to show their World Cup rivals that they are no pushovers when they do battle in November. They have a very strong attacking team and might just fancy themselves to get through Group C and into the knockout rounds. It is definitely worth considering them in your World Cup group stage betting plans.
Mexico has a roster with a number of highly experienced players, which will likely give them an edge over Saudi Arabia and keep them in with a chance when they take on Argentina and Poland. With Saudi Arabia being the weakest team in the group, Mexico's clash with Poland could be a decider in who finishes second behind Lionel Messi and Argentina.
Doubts initially hung over Gerardo Martino’s position on the bench - even after qualification - but they have settled now as the country is gripped by World Cup fever.
Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino. © Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Star man Raul Jimenez hasn't reached his dizzying pre-injury heights, but he is undoubtedly their star player. He’s the man to lead Mexico in the post-Chicharito Hernandez era and he will be looking to return to his very best by helping his country navigate through a tricky group and into the knockout stages of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
READ MORE: Mexico vs Poland preview
READ MORE: Mexico vs Argentina preview
Mexico player to watch: Hirving Lozano
There isn’t a real standout player in this Mexico group when it comes to current form, and no one individual has been consistently tearing it up at their club. Napoli’s Hirving Lozano, though, is a player who can be a real threat to any opponent when he’s on form and he’ll hope to show that in the Mexico World Cup games. The 26-year-old has 56 caps for his country so far and has already scored 15 times wearing the national team’s shirt. In Serie A last season he managed 11 goal involvements - five goals and six assists - in 30 appearances for the Partenopei as he helped them to secure a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League.
There appears to be a lot of belief put in Lozano by Napoli’s higher-ups, too, with them having let captain Lorenzo Insigne leave at the end of his contract this summer to join MLS side Toronto FC. Had Lozano not been at the club, it’s hard to imagine that they would have been willing to let Insigne depart. Lozano, on his day, can be tricky and impossible to handle for any defender. His small frame makes him hard to get a handle on, and he can show lightening pace in bursts to really get away from opponents.
Saudi Arabia overview
With Herve Renard at the helm, these Saudi Arabia World Cup games will be worth watching as the Frenchman has been there and done it all before, having a rich history of coaching at international level, particularly with African nations. This winter’s tournament will be his second World Cup, having taken Morocco to Russia in 2018 previously.
The Saudi Arabian side will back themselves and take confidence into their World Cup Group C games, and their success in Asia of late might just be enough to give them the belief to pull off an upset.
While they don’t have any top-level stars or household names to a European audience, the Saudi Arabia World Cup games will likely show the wider world how they have been incorporating, thanks to Renard, more European-style tactics to their game.
Their big-name player is undoubtedly Salem Al-Dawsari of Al-Hilal, and he was recently an Asian Champions League winner as well. Being their current top goalscorer, his threat will be known to anybody they come up against, and certainly in Mexico vs Saudi Arabia, and he is direct and almost has an aggressive streak when he finds himself within sight of goal.
Saudi Arabia player to watch: Salem Al-Dawsari
Al-Hilal’s Salem Al-Dawsari is the star man of this Saudi Arabia squad, and Mexico will need to be attentive to him if they are to avoid conceding to the Asian representatives.
Al-Dawsari will be looking to show in the Saudi Arabia World Cup games that his slightly odd spell at Villarreal in 2018 isn’t what should define his playing career. Then, an unusual deal was agreed between the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and LaLiga, which saw several players head to Spain. During his time with Villarreal he made just one appearance, which came as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with Real Madrid.
Al-Dawsari has big-game experience too and as well as being an Asian Champions League winner, he has appearances and goals to his name in the Club World Cup and the Saudi Super Cup too.
At 30, this could well be his last chance to really announce himself to the wider football world, and the Mexico vs Saudi Arabia game might just be his best chance to get himself on the scoresheet or to provide an assist.
In all, he scored 14 times and assisted six more in 30 appearances last season. For his country, nobody has more than his 14 goals in 53 appearances.
Pic: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports
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