Gerardo Martino insists Mexico 'not afraid' ahead of must-win clash vs Saudi Arabia

Lizzy Becherano
Gerardo Martino: Mexico 'not afraid' ahead of Saudi Arabia clash.
Gerardo Martino: Mexico 'not afraid' ahead of Saudi Arabia clash. / Christopher Lee/GettyImages

The Mexican men’s national team stands at risk of elimination ahead of the Group C clash against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

El Tri currently sits in last place of the Group C standings, with just one point from the 0-0 draw against Poland. In order to qualify for the round of 16, Mexico must defeat Saudi Arabia, and hope for a desirable result in the match between Argentina and Poland.

Should Poland win, Mexico would go through with any victory over Saudi Arabia. If Argentina triumph, goal differential would come into play, forcing Mexico to score at least three goals on Wednesday. Though the path may be complicated, head coach Gerardo Martino insists Mexico has no fear. 

"Afraid? No. We compete, we play football, we're not afraid," Martino said during the team's pregame news conference on Tuesday.

"We face and respect all rivals that we have in front of us, we all know how well [Saudi] Arabia has done in the match against Argentina, and especially in the first half against Poland, but I don't think there is fear in someone who is used to competing."

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But the pressure is on as Mexico enters the match with just three victories in their last 11 competitive matches. 

"I never made excuses, sometimes we have to describe the realities. When one says we played well for 60 minutes, it's because we played well for 60 minutes," Martino said.

"There is no need for excuses, we clearly have a match that we need to win."

Mexico has qualified for the round of 16 in their past seven World Cup appearances, raising the stakes for 2022. The team last remained in the tournament’s group stage in 1978, losing against Poland, West Germany and Tunisia.