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World Cup 2022: Why to expect Saudi Arabia to avoid defeat against Mexico

World Cup 2022: Why to expect Saudi Arabia to avoid defeat against Mexico

Saudi Arabia have surpassed many pundits’ expectations in Qatar after they began their World Cup 2022 campaign with a surprise 2-1 victory over Argentina.

Although they lost 2-0 to Poland in their second group match, they spurned a number of promising opportunities to pick up at least a point from the encounter.

They will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s meeting with Mexico, where a win would guarantee them a place in the knockout rounds, while a draw would leave them relying on the result of Argentina’s final group game against Poland.

As for Mexico, they need a victory to stand any chance of progressing, and their quest for a victory could play into the hands of Saudi Arabia, who could benefit from any space left behind their opponents’ defence.

Herve Renard‘s side have already showcased their willingness to throw players forward into the final third after scoring twice against Argentina, and attempting 16 attempts at goal against Poland, although they were ultimately unable to find the net in that contest.

Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on November 22, 2022© Reuters

If they are to continue to offer a meaningful threat in the final third, then Salem Al-Dawsari will be crucial to his side after registering more shots and creating more chances than any of his teammates in the opening two games.

As a result of his winning strike against Argentina, he has two World Cup goals to his name, and he is now only one behind Sami Al-Jaber as Saudi Arabia’s highest scorer at the tournament.

At the other end of the pitch, Saudi Arabia have struggled defensively at the World Cup, keeping just one clean sheet in 18 games, but they will come up against a Mexican side who have failed to score in their previous four games at the tournament.

Meanwhile, the 2-0 defeat to Poland represented the only time in Saudi Arabia’s last 12 internationals that they had conceded more than one goal.

With Renard’s side set to face a Mexico side winless in four World Cup matches, they will see this as a real opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages for just the second time after they achieved the feat in 1994.

Read more on Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

Click here to read our full preview for Saudi Arabia vs Mexico
How Saudi Arabia could line up against Mexico
How Mexico could line up against Saudi Arabia
World Cup 2022: Reasons for Saudi Arabia to be confident of beating Mexico
World Cup 2022: Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico head-to-head record
World Cup 2022: Reasons for Mexico to be confident of beating Saudi Arabia

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