How can Mexico qualify for the World Cup knockout stages?

Jude Summerfield
Mexico need to turn things around against Saudi Arabia
Mexico need to turn things around against Saudi Arabia / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Wednesday is a defining day for Mexico as they bid to reach the 2022 World Cup knockout stages.

There is no other option for Gerardo Martinez than attack when his side face Saudi Arabia, knowing anything other than three points will result in elimination for El Tri.

Here's what the Mexicans need to reach the last 16 - traditionally their stumbling point at World Cups.

Mexico at the World Cup so far

With only one point from their first two games, it's fair to say Mexico have been pretty rubbish up to this point.

A goalless draw with Poland was hardly be-all and end-all, even if their struggles in attack foreshadowed the issues they would encounter against Argentina. Mexico had four shots on target but the worse chances, with Robert Lewandowski squandering an opportunity from the penalty spot.

After that 0-0 draw, they faced Lionel Messi and co at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. Mexico kept them at bay for over an hour before Messi grabbed the opener, with Enzo Fernandez later capping the 2-0 win with a wonderful strike in the 87th minute.

Mexico remaining World Cup group fixtures

Mexico's final Group C game sees them face Saudi Arabia at Lusail Iconic Stadium. The Central Americans are unbeaten in five previous encounters with the Green Falcons, all of which came in the 1990s.

No previous meetings have occurred at the World Cup, but there have been three clashes in the Confederations Cup - the aggregate scoreline across those games in 12-1 in Mexico's favour.

How can Mexico qualify for the World Cup knockout stages?

Mexico can still finish in the top two places in Group C, but they have beat Saudi Arabia to stand any chance. If Mexico win and Poland beat Argentina, they will qualify as runners-up to Lewandowski's side.

If Mexico win and Argentina vs Poland ends in a draw, Mexico would have to beat Saudi Arabia by at least three goals to go through.

If Mexico win and Argentina beat Poland, Mexico would need a large victory margin to overturn the goal difference advantage Poland currently hold over them.