Saudi Arabia vs Mexico LIVE: World Cup 2022 result and reaction as Mexico win but miss out on last-16

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico LIVE: World Cup 2022 result and reaction as Mexico win but miss out on last-16

Mexico knew they needed to defeat Saudi Arabia to have any hopes of reaching the knockout rounds of the World Cup and started their final game in Group C in blistering fashion. The flew, swarmed and smothered the Saudi Arabian defence from the first whistle but couldn’t break the deadlock in a frustrating first 45 minutes at the Lusail Stadium.

In the other Group C game Argentina were equally dominant against Poland and a win for them would aid Mexico’s cause to reach the last-16. Argentina scored just as Mexico kicked off the second half. Henry Martin then turned in the first goal two minutes after the restart before Luis Chavez netted a wonderful free kick in the 52nd minute with what may just be the goal of the tournament.

Mexico were ahead in the game but not in the group. A second Argentina goal helped their cause once more and as the minutes ticked by the equation became simple. Score one more goal and Mexico would beat Poland into second place. They threw men up the pitch, whipped in crosses and had a goal ruled out for offside.

Yet the dying stages of the match saw a slick one-two play Salem Al Dawsari through Mexico’s defence, letting him guide a cool finish past Guillermo Ochoa five minutes into stoppage time. There was no chance of a comeback and although Mexico won the game they were knocked out of the World Cup on goal difference.

Relive all the action with our live blog below:

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

  • Mexico defeat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in final Group C match of World Cup 2022

  • Mexico finally join World Cup party but suffer heartbreak despite Saudi Arabia win

  • 90+5’ - GOAL! Al Dawsari scores to break Mexican hearts (KSA 1-2 MEX)

  • 87’ - DISALLOWED! Antuna taps one home but iis caught offside (KSA 0-2 MEX)

  • 73’ - SAVE! Al Owais denies Chavez with a leaping save (KSA 0-2 MEX)

  • 56’ - DISALLOWED! Lozano scores but Martin is offside in the build-up (KSA 0-2 MEX)

  • 52’ - GOAL! Chavez adds a second with a blistering free kick (KSA 0-2 MEX)

  • 47’ - GOAL! Martin turns home a corner to send Mexico in front (KSA 0-1 MEX)

  • 45+5’ - CHANCE! Al Hassan heads wide from inside the box (KSA 0-0 MEX)

  • 25’ - CLOSE! Pineda’s effort forces Al Owais into a save (KSA 0-0 MEX)

  • 13’ - SHOT! Kanno curls a free kick just wide for Saudi Arabia (KSA 0-0 MEX)

  • 4’ - CHANCE! Vega has an early effort charged down by Al Owais (KSA 0-0 MEX)

FT Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico

21:37 , Michael Jones

Poland qualify ahead of Mexico. They’ve made it out of the group stage of a World Cup tournament for the first time since 1986.

They had failed to do so in each of their previous three appearances at the tournament prior to this year (2002, 2006 and 2018).

Lionel Messi’s World Cup dream remains alive, but this time thanks to Argentina’s next generation

21:32 , Michael Jones

If you were watching this game closely enough at home and paying close attention to the far side of the pitch, you may have noticed that there were two tracks of dirt etched into the ground close to the touchline that almost resembled a number 10. A bit like when an elderly person in your local newspaper finds the image of Christ in a burned piece of toast, if you happened to notice it, it was impossible not to read this as a sign. What, if anything, did this mean?

What it meant, actually, was that this was the same area of the pitch where Poland’s players had been doing shuttle runs during their warm-up. While pounding their studs into the ground, they had really marked out two zeros, only the outside of the first was hidden by the darker shade of grass. It was a sign, in a way, but only a sign that while you can squint and strain to see the poetry in life, reality is often far more prosaic.

Argentina will progress to the knockout stages after all. Lionel Messi will be there. The greatest player of his generation is three games away from a World Cup 2022 final. That might be his night, the night that he declares his genius and it is finally undisputed, but this night was not.

Messi’s World Cup dream remains alive, but this time thanks to the next generation

Mexico finally join World Cup party but suffer heartbreak despite Saudi Arabia win

21:25 , Michael Jones

Where had this Mexico been? After putrid attacking displays to draw 0-0 with Poland and lose 2-0 to Argentina, the vibrant, exciting version of El Tri that we’re so used to seeing at World Cups finally turned up. Sadly for them, it proved to be just too little too late.

Perhaps we should never have doubted that Mexico would show up when it mattered most - they had reached the knockout stages at their last eight World Cups, after all. Yet as those who had the misfortune to witness their first two matches in this group can attest, there were few signs that the 2022 version of Mexico were capable of this performance. The men in green were irresistible, yet it ultimately wasn’t enough.

On this evidence, they could have given France a real game in the last 16, although their expertise in getting out of the groups has only been matched by their ability to fall at the first knockout hurdle. Seven straight defeats at that stage would have been a hard record to overcome. Not that it matters now - they gave themselves a mountain to climb and while they got within view of the summit, it is Poland who snuck through ahead of them on goal difference despite their own 2-0 defeat to Argentina. And given the performances to this point, Mexico can’t feel too hard done by.

Mexico finally join World Cup party but suffer heartbreak despite Saudi Arabia win

FT Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico

21:22 , Michael Jones

A fantastic display from Mexico wasn’t enough to get them into the knockout rounds.


FT Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico

21:21 , Michael Jones

The last World Cup last 16 without Mexico was all the way back in 1990.

FT Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico

21:07 , Michael Jones

Mexico fought to the bitter end and will be ruing the chances that they missed tonight.

Two disallowed goals and a flurry of fantastic saves from Mohammed Al Owais mean they finish third in the group and are eliminated from the World Cup.

Full-time: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico

21:00 , Michael Jones

90+7 mins: There goes the whistle! Mexico find their quality and win the game but it’s not enough for them to make it through the group.

They finish level with Poland on points but the European side have a better goal difference and join Argentina in the last-16.

Heartbreak for Mexico.

GOAL! Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico (Al Dawsari, 90+5’)⚽️

20:58 , Michael Jones

90+5 mins: Killer blow! Saudi Arabia fly up the pitch after Mexico commit men forward. Salem Al Dawsari plays a one-two to get into the penalty area and then guides a lovely finish past Guillermo Ochoa.

That goal means Mexico need to score twice now.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:57 , Michael Jones

90+4 mins: Mexico keep the pressure on Saudi Arabia but they need to get the ball in the box. Kevin Alvarez surges into the box making his way past three defenders before squaring one into the middle.

It skips through everyone without troubling the goalkeeper. Argentina have won 2-0, Mexico now have to score.

Three minutes to play.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:54 , Michael Jones

90+2 mins: Chance! Hirving Lozano takes the free kick and gets it past the wall. Mohammed Al Owais palms the ball away and there are no Mexico players on hand to tap in the rebound.

Five minutes left.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:53 , Michael Jones

90 mins: One more chance for Mexico perhaps? Seven added minutes to play.

Mexico still need a goal as substitute Funes Mori wins a free kick right outside the penalty area. Saudi Arabia look tired now, they’re giving it their all to keep Mexico at bay.

DISALLOWED! Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:50 , Michael Jones

87 mins: Argentina are absolutely hammering Poland in the other game.

Oh close! Mexico play a straight ball through the Saudi Arabian high line and Antuna gets to the ball loose ball before goalkeeper Al Owais.

He dinks the ball into the back of the net but gets flagged offside! Mexico thought they had their goal!

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:45 , Michael Jones

83 mins: Lozano makes a dummy run to roll the ball into a more favourable area for Chavez who then shoots and has his effort blocked by Sharahili.

Saudi Arabia are all over the place at the minute. Mexico are determined to score again.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:44 , Michael Jones

81 mins: Free kick to Mexico right on the edge of the penalty area as Lozano is brought down having broken through the lines. Time is ticking away and Mexico need a goal.

Poland have picked up a yellow card against Argentina so that stands at five for them, seven for Mexico. A goal is still the best bet.

Luis Chavez is going to shoot again.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:42 , Michael Jones

78 mins: Chance! Lozano gets played in behind on the left and carries the ball into the box before pulling it back to Antuna. He pokes the ball towards goal but Abdullah Madu drops in front of it and makes the block!

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:39 , Michael Jones

76 mins: Chance! Mexico sweep the ball over to the left side of the pitch where Martin brings it under control before laying the ball off to Orbelin Pineda.

He rolls the ball onto his right foot and guides a shot from outside the box just wide of the far post!

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:35 , Michael Jones

73 mins: On the yellow card front Mexico have seven and Poland have four which means that Mexico best chance of making it through is to get a goal.

Lozano gets brought down in a very similar position to where Luis Chavez scored his free kick from earlier. He’ll have another go surely.

Save! Chavez smokes another fine free kick and bends one around the wall but Al Owais leaps across and palms this one away! Great save from the Saudi goalkeeper.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:32 , Michael Jones

71 mins: Mexico need another goal. They’ll be getting this information relayed to them from the sidelines. If Mexico or Argentina score then Mexico will go through to the last-16.

Mohamed Kanno is punished for a high boot on Orbelin Pinaeda. The Mexico fans are loving this, they’re encouraging their team on.

A free kick to Mexico comes into the box where it’s headed over to Martin. He meets it on the volley and drills a volley over the crossbar!

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:30 , Michael Jones

68 mins: Chance! Lozano blasts a scuttling shot at the Saudi Arabia goal but Al Owais leaps across to his right and keeps it out with a strong hand.

Argentina have added a second goal in their match against Poland meaning that Mexico and Poland are level on goal difference. As it stands Poland are going through by having picked up fewer yellow cards!

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:28 , Michael Jones

65 mins: Henry Martin is fed the ball on the left side of the pitch for Mexico. He beautifully spins around Al Tambakti and drives into the penalty area.

Martin and Al Tambakti tussle before the striker goes to ground wanting a penalty that he doesn’t get.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:23 , Michael Jones

62 mins: Saudi Arabia are done. They’ve been blown away by Mexico in this half and need three goals to go through which isn’t happening.

Two Group C places are up for grabs. Argentina and Poland hold them as it stands but another goal for Mexico puts them above Poland.

Less than 30 minutes to play now.

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:20 , Michael Jones

59 mins: Mexico are on fire at the minute. They won’t be relying on Argentina scoring more goals against Poland when they knew Saudi Arabia are here for the taking.

Mexico have finally come alive at the World Cup. Can they now get through to the last-16. They’re going to need another goal at least.

DISALLOWED GOAL! Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico

20:19 , Michael Jones

56 mins: Hirving Lozano receives the ball in the middle of the Saudi Arabian half. He sends it up to Henry Martin and plays a one-two on his way into the area.

After getting the ball back, Lozano slides the ball into the back of the net but Martin was slightly offside in the build-up and the goal is chalked off!

GOAL! Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico (Chavez, 52’) ⚽️

20:14 , Michael Jones

52 mins: Jaw-droppingly good! Luis Chavez stands over the free kick but he’s too far out from goal to shoot surely?


He smokes the deadball with a left-foot and lifts his free kick over the wall with enough curl and swerve to take it away from Mohammed Al Owais before nestling in the top right-hand corner!

Saudi Arabia 0-1 Mexico

20:14 , Michael Jones

51 mins: Montes clears his own lines and boots the ball up to Martin who is brought down by Al Tambakti. The Saudi Arabian defender goes in the book too.

Free kick to Mexico.

Saudi Arabia 0-1 Mexico

20:13 , Michael Jones

50 mins: As it stands Mexico are level on points with Poland but have a worse goal difference. They need a two goal swing in order for them to qualify.

That means they need to score again and hope Argentina increase their lead too.

GOAL! Saudi Arabia 0-1 Mexico (Martin, 47’)⚽️

20:11 , Michael Jones

47 mins: Mexico take the lead! They’ve started the second half in the same fashion as they did the first sweeping up the pitch and winning a corner.

The corner is whipped into the box where Cesar Montes flicks it onto Henry Martin who gets to it before his marker and guides one into the back of the net!

Big goal for Mexico.

Second half: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

20:09 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia get the game back underway for the second half. There’s been some changes during the break.

In the other game Argentina have taken the lead over Poland through Brighton’s Alexis MacAllister.

HT Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:59 , Michael Jones


Half-time: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:53 , Michael Jones

45+6 mins: The whistle goes to end an entertaining first half but there’s nothing to separate the two teams. Mexico need a clinical edge in the final third as a goal would see them go through.

Their dominance hasn’t been rewarded yet.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:52 , Michael Jones

45+5 mins: Chance! Saudi Arabia kick inot life right at the end of the first half and pressure the Mexico back line. Sultan Al Ghannam makes an overlapping run on the right and whips a cross into the box.

Ali Al Hassan meets it in the air and powers a headed effort wide of the back post!

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:47 , Michael Jones

45+1 mins: There’s six minutes of added time to play before the end of the first half. Can Mexico break this deadlock?

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:46 , Michael Jones

44 mins: It’s last ditch defending from Saudi Arabia who scramble inside their own box as Mexico move it quickly over to Alexis Vega on the left side of the area.

He cuts back onto his right then has his shot blocked.

The rebound comes out to Chavez but his follow up effort is also charged down.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:42 , Michael Jones

41 mins: Mexico have dominated this first half and they’ll be annoyed that they haven’t got themselves in front yet. Luis Chavez swings a corner into the box but it’s well dealt with by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:39 , Michael Jones

38 mins: This is a blow for Saudi Arabia. Ali Al Bulayhi has to depart after taking a knock in a challenge with Hirving Lozano. Riyadh Sharahili comes on to replace him.

Herve Renard looks pensive on the sidelines. He won’t be too displeased with what he’s seeing but he’ll certainly want Saudi Arabia to impose themselves on the game more.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:36 , Michael Jones

35 mins: Mexico win a corner that gets curled over to Jesus Gallardo who makes a run into the front of the box. He meets the ball on the half-volley but smokes his effort high and wide!

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:35 , Michael Jones

32 mins: Saleh Al Shehri and Ali Al Hassan are both shown yellow cards for heavy tackles bringing Saudi Arabia’s bookings up to 10 for the tournament so far.

They’re not afraid to get stuck in are they?

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:29 , Michael Jones

28 mins: Gallardo sends an inswinging cross into the box this time from the left wing and sends it straight into the hands of Al Owais.

Mexico are having a lot of joy in the wider areas with Gallardo being allowed so much time and space to operate in.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:27 , Michael Jones

25 mins: Close! Mexico send the ball up to Henry Martin in the Saudi Arabia box. He shifts it to the right before sliding a pass back to Orbelin Pineda.

Pineda shoots just as he’s tackled by Ali Al Hassan and all the sting is taken out of the effort allowing Mohammed Al Owais to dive across to his right and keep it out.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:24 , Michael Jones

22 mins: A quick counter-attack from Mexico sees Vega send the ball out to Gallardo on the left who then whips a cross over to the opposite wing where Sanchez collects.

He holds the ball up allowing more green shirts to get into the penalty area but then lifts his cross over the head of Henry Martin.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:20 , Michael Jones

19 mins: Al Tambakti is back on his feet and is fine to play on.

A poor cross field pass from Al Bulayhi sends the ball straight out of play and Mexico get a throw in inside Saudi Arabia’s half. They don’t make use of it though and prefer to knock the ball around the defence, moving is quickly side-to-side to try and draw their opponents out of position.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:17 , Michael Jones

16 mins: Edson Alvarez clatters into Hassan Al Tambakti following a late attempt at a tackle and picks up the first yellow card of the match.

Saudi Arabia win a free kick inside their own half but first Al Tambakti needs a bit of treatment from the medical staff.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:14 , Michael Jones

13 mins: Free kick to Saudi Arabia! After some lovely link up play on the left Salem Al Dawsari flicks the ball inside to Saud Abdulhamid who goes on a fine run before getting taken out just outside the penalty area.

Big chance coming up for Saudi Arabia to score first.

Mohamed Kanno takes the set piece, whips it up and over the wall but curls his effort wide of the near post!

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:11 , Michael Jones

10 mins: Luis Chavez dinks a nice ball over to the right wing where Jorge Sanchez has pushed high up the pitch. He swings in a cross but sends it over the head of Hirving Lozano and the ball skips out for a Saudi throw in.

Mexico have started this game quickly. They’re doin most of the attacking and forcing Saudi Arabia deep into their own half.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:09 , Michael Jones

7 mins: Clumsy from Saudi Arabia! Jesus Gallardo brings the ball down the left wing for Mexico and whips a decent cross into the six-yard area.

Mohammed Al Owais stays rooted to the spot and waits for the ball to bounce over to him leaving the opportunity for Henry Martin to throw himself at the ball.

The goalkeeper manages to flap the ball away before the forward gets his head to it and it rolls safely wide of goal.

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:06 , Michael Jones

4 mins: Chance! Mexico already look dangerous as they slip a through ball in between the Saudi Arabian defence playing Alexis Vega into the penalty area.

He prods a shot towards goal but Mohammed Al Owais is off his line quickly and charges down the effort!

Good goalkeeping!

Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:04 , Michael Jones

3 mins: Early chances at both ends of the pitch. Luis Chavez fizzes a shot towards the Saudi box but sends his effort wide of the target before Saudi Arabian fly down the to the other end.

The ball is played into the middle of the pitch where Saleh Al Shehri brings it under control before curling a tame effort into the hands of Guillermo Ochoa.

Kick off: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Mexico

19:02 , Michael Jones

Mexico get the match underway and work the ball around the back before a punt forwad sees Jorge Sanchez bring the ball under control on the right side before winning a throw in deep in Saudi Arabia’s half.

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:56 , Michael Jones

The teams head out onto the pitch and the national anthems are sung.

There are a few nervous looking faces on both teams but once the adrenaline kicks in they’ll be switched on. This is a crunch match, the winner has the best chance of reaching the last-16.

Will is be Saudi Arabia or Mexico?

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:51 , Michael Jones

Mexico have yet to score in the 2022 World Cup and have been quite lacklustre in front of goal. They know they need to win this evening so expect a bit more movement from them in the final third.

Herve Renard challenges his Saudi Arabia players to make World Cup history

18:50 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard has challenged his players to make history by sealing their place in the knockout phase of the World Cup with victory over Mexico on Wednesday.

The Saudis know a win in their third and final Group C match will be enough to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 1994, when Saeed Al-Owairan’s stunning strike sank Belgium.

And despite pulling off one of the greatest World Cup upsets over Argentina in their opening match, Renard has warned that result will count for nothing if they fail to follow it through by reaching the last 16.

Herve Renard challenges his Saudi Arabia players to make World Cup history

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:45 , Michael Jones

Warm-ups done. Kick off is 15 minutes away in this Group C clash. Who will triumph tonight?


Can Saudi Arabia win again?

18:40 , Michael Jones

This is Saudi Arabia’s sixth World Cup.

Their shock win over Argentina was their fourth win in the tournament’s history - with two coming in 1994. Will they repeat that feat in 2022 by defeating Mexico tonight?

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:35 , Michael Jones

The fans have been flooding into the stadium for this one. There are loads of Saudi Arabian supporters coming to see if their team can make it into the knockout rounds this evening.

But, I think the Mexican fans edge it for creativity and costuming.


Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:30 , Michael Jones

Mexico last suffered group stage elimination in 1978 and they have reached the round of 16 in each of their previous seven World Cups.

El Tri have mustered just five shots on target in their first two matches, with each one coming from a different player.

Group C permutations

18:26 , Michael Jones

Poland and Argentina are the top two in the group following wins over Saudi Arabia and Mexico respectively on Saturday. Those two meet in tonight’s group decider, meaning there is a decent chance one of them will go out.

Poland would be guaranteed progression with a draw, while Argentina will go through if they win but both sides will go through if both games are drawn.

Saudi Arabia will secure their entry to the knockout stage if they beat Mexico.

Mexico need to beat the Saudis to have any hope of going through. They would be through if both they and Poland win.

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:22 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia have failed to score in eight of their 16 fixtures in 2022 - the only time they’ve found the net more than once was in their 2-1 victory over Argentina last Tuesday.

This is the side of the World Cup that Qatar would prefer you ignore

18:18 , Michael Jones

It is one of the regular moments of harsh reality that takes you out of the illusion that is this World Cup. As the taxi driver drops the group off, there is a sudden plea. It is not for a five-star rating.

“Can you give me a tip please?”, he asks. “I have no money to eat.”

The driver, of south Asian descent, sends almost everything he earns back to his family. This is supposed to be the long-awaited period when such workers can generate income due to the number of visitors to Qatar but here is another who is just starving.

Anyone who has been in Doha for the first week of this World Cup would have had many similar stories pass in front of their eyes. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre said on Sunday that there had been six cases of migrant worker abuse reported in that time alone.

This is the side of the World Cup that Qatar would prefer you ignore

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico odds

18:14 , Michael Jones

Mexico: 7/10

Draw: 3/1

Saudi Arabia: 15/4

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico prediction

18:10 , Michael Jones

Mexico’s progress hinges on scoring that elusive first goal of the World Cup. If they can do that, and do it early, they should be fine.

If not, Saudi Arabia can hang on for the draw that could secure their progress. Even if Mexico get the win, though, will it be enough?

Mexico 1-0 Saudi Arabia

England XI vs Senegal: Our writers pick starting line-up for World Cup last 16 tie

18:06 , Michael Jones

England play Senegal in the World Cup last 16 at Al Bayt Stadium after securing top spot in Group B.

A more pleasing performance in the 3-0 victory over Wales sets Gareth Southgate’s side up nicely for what he has described as the “big business” of the tournament in Qatar.

But Southgate has a number of selection dilemmas with Marcus Rashford representing a player reborn following his brace on Tuesday and Phil Foden making his case to start again after also getting on the scoresheet.

There is plenty to ponder, with Raheem Sterling, Kieran Trippier, Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka all under consideration to return to the starting line-up.

Here is how our writers would line up against Senegal on Sunday:

Rashford or Sterling? Our writers pick England starting XI vs Senegal

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

18:01 , Michael Jones

Mexico are unbeaten in five previous meetings with Saudi Arabia, winning four and drawing the other.

Belgium on the brink as golden generation bid to keep last World Cup shot alive

17:57 , Michael Jones

It could be the end of an era for a generation. They are the golden generation who have not struck gold and probably never will now. And yet Roberto Martinez, with his remarkable gift for positivity, argued that, even with a group-stage exit from the World Cup, the greatest pool of players Belgium have ever had have achieved more than some champions.

“This generation haven’t won a major tournament but they’re leaving a legacy and that can go further,” the Belgium manager said. “This group of players deserve respect and admiration. We can win, draw or lose but the legacy of this generation is clear. The next 20 years will not be the same because of them.”

Martinez’s reasoning was multifaceted. “They got a bronze medal in 2018, they were four years the No 1 [ranked team by Fifa] and 21 of them have got their A Licences,” he said. “They are going to carry on affecting Belgian football from a coaching perspective for the next 20 years.”

Belgium on the brink as golden generation bid to keep last World Cup shot alive

England evolve and embrace a new strength at World Cup

17:53 , Michael Jones

Daniel Sturridge got one. So did Wayne Rooney. And that, it transpired, was the sum total of England’s goals in the 2014 World Cup. They had only mustered one more in 2010, Steven Gerrard, Jermain Defoe and Matt Upson the scorers.

So when Marcus Rashford brought up a century of World Cup goals for England, it underlined how few arrived in the years immediately before Gareth Southgate’s appointment. Some 23, almost a quarter, have come for a manager often deemed conservative in his style of play. If that is aided by the generosity of Panama and Iran, conceding six apiece in group games separated by four years, a second-half trio against Wales means England have only ever scored more goals in two World Cups than their nine now: 2018 and 1966. They are the top scorers in 2022. Not bad for a team being held back by a supposedly puritanical manager.

If the difference with the Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson years lies first and foremost in the quantity of goals, the new element is the identity of the scorers. It is no secret England have been over-reliant on Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in Southgate’s reign, particularly in tournament football when their next likeliest finishers seemed to be Harry Maguire and John Stones.

England evolve and embrace a new strength at World Cup

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico line-ups

17:48 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia XI: Al Owais, Al Tambakti, Al Amri, Al Bulayhi, Al Ghannam, Al Hassam, Kanno, Abdulhamid, Al Brikan, Al Shehri, Al Dawsari

Mexico XI: Ochoa, Sanchez, Montes, Moreno, Gallardo, Alvarez, Chavez, Lozano, Pineda, Vega, Martin

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico early team news and predicted line-ups

17:45 , Michael Jones

Abdulelah Al-Malki is suspended for Saudi Arabia after picking up his second booking of the tournament against Poland. Mohammed Al-Burayk, Yasir Al-Shahrani and Salman Al-Faraj are also out.

Mexico are sweating on the fitness of Andres Guardado after he was forced off in the first half of the Argentina defeat. Mexico and Uruguay are the only teams who are yet to score in Qatar, so El Tri may opt for Raul Jimenez to lead the line.

Predicted line-ups

Saudi Arabia XI: Alowais, Abdulhamid, Alamri, Altambakti, Alburayk, Kanno, Albrikan, Alabid, Alnaji, Aldawsari, Alshehri.

Mexico XI: Ochoa, Sanchez, Montes, Moreno, Araujo, Gallardo, Alvarez, Herrera,Lozano, Jimenez, Vega.

Mathew Leckie solo goal sees Australia beat dismal Denmark to reach World Cup round of 16

17:41 , Michael Jones

There may have been bigger shocks at this World Cup but Australia became the first underdog to strike a knockout blow against one of the favourites. Ranked 10th in the world, Denmark contrived to finish fourth in a group containing the Socceroos and Tunisia. The side who led in the Euro 2020 semi-final were never in front in this World Cup and go out embarrassingly early, with one point and one goal to show for their trip to Qatar.

Yet if they are underachievers, Australia’s endearing overachievers advance fair and square. They came to Qatar as one of the least fancied teams and a country with just two World Cup wins to their name.

They have doubled that tally in their last two games and progress level on points with France. That may sound surreal but this was one of the great days in their footballing history. They earned their place in the World Cup in Doha, beating Peru in a play-off, and now they have still more fond memories of Qatar.

Australia’s consecutive clean sheets are testament to the excellence of Harry Souttar and the organisation Graham Arnold has instilled.

Leckie solo goal sees Australia beat dismal Denmark to reach round of 16

Group D’s thrilling climax shows why Fifa shouldn’t tamper with a perfect World Cup format

17:37 , Michael Jones

For about 10 seconds, Tunisia think they’ve scored. Wahbi Khazri’s free-kick is flicked home gymnastically by Nader Ghandri before Steve Mandanda’s 37-year-old reactions can respond, and the thousands of Tunisian fans go feral, until they spot a raised flag. With a fair wind the noise erupting from the Education City Stadium might make it to the Al Janoub Stadium 12 miles south, where Australia and Denmark are playing out the other half of this high-stakes Group D finale.

France are already qualified but that in itself adds to the potential for drama as Didier Deschamps shuffles his pack, deploying five central midfielders in a line-up which looks confusing on paper and offers no more clarity on the pitch. Playing in an unfamiliar left-back role, Edouardo Camavinga wears the look of a man convinced he’s left his wallet around here somewhere, and it all gives fourth-placed Tunisia hope of the win they desperately need. Denmark go searching for three points too; Australia are the ones left a little confused, unsure whether to stick or twist, knowing a draw might be enough but that the single waft of a Danish or Tunisian foot could eliminate them at any moment.

Tunisia keep coming, scenting blood: they are the dominant team against a discombobulated France and Khazri has a penalty appeal turned down. Meanwhile Matthew Ryan, the Australian goalkeeper, is conducting some masterful time-wasting: on 27 minutes he ignores the referee’s hurry-up gestures so that the official, Mustapha Ghorbal, has no choice but run 50 yards downfield to convey his message, taking up another 30 seconds much to the exasperation of the Danish players....

Group D’s thrilling climax shows why Fifa shouldn’t tamper with World Cup format

Tunisia stun France as jubilation turns to agony as World Cup progress falls short

17:32 , Michael Jones

Jalel Kadri had told Tunisia that nothing was impossible. After an almost unthinkable win over France they nearly believed him too. But Mathew Leckie’s goal for Australia, scored some 25km away against Denmark, proved more crucial than the one scored here as they, not Tunisia, advanced to the last-16 of the World Cup.

Wahbi Khazri had thought he was the hero, his second-half goal at the Education City Stadium to down the defending champions, securing a famous win and, at the time, progress to the next round at the expense of the other two in Group C, only for Leckie’s goal to break Danish hearts and the majority of those here. Antoine Griezmann’s stoppage time equaliser threatened to do the same only for it to be ruled out for offside at the last.

Tunisia now depart this stage, a vigorous, vibrant presence throughout the tournament now silenced, their brilliant performance here ultimately and heart-wrenchingly not enough as Australia instead advanced in second place. The threat they posed to one of the tournament favourites, though, will surely linger.

Tunisia stun France as jubilation turns to agony as progress falls short

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

17:27 , Michael Jones

Group D has come to it’s conclusion but the action continues in Qatar with Group C’s final games taking place tonight.

Saudi Arabia and Mexico go head-to-head as they look to clinch one of the two spots on offer with a victory for either side likely to take them through to the last-16.

In the other game group leaders Poland face Argentina knowing that a loss to Lionel Messi’s team could see them knocked out of the tournament.

Pitch invader runs on with Palestine flag during Tunisia vs France at World Cup

17:21 , Michael Jones

A pitch invader took a Palestine flag onto the field during Tunisia vs France at the Qatar World Cup.

The move comes after a fan evaded security while carrying a rainbow flag onto the field during Portugal vs Uruguay.

The supporter, wearing a Tunisia home jersey, sprinted onto the Education City Stadium pitch in the 67th minute. He then performed two somersaults before security eventually caught up, tackling him to the turf and dragging him off the pitch.

The supporter who entered the field of play on Monday at the Lusail Stadium also displayed a “Save Ukraine” message on the front of his t-shirt.

Pitch invader runs on with Palestine flag during Tunisia vs France

FT Tunisia 1-0 France

17:17 , Michael Jones

Didier Deschamps made nine changes to his France side and it showed today. They were second best until the main stars were brought on to try and rescue the game.

France attempted 10 shots in their loss, their lowest total in a single match in the 2022 World Cup.

France vs Tunisia player ratings: Raphael Varane and Les Bleus struggle after resting Kylian Mbappe

17:12 , Michael Jones

Tunisa earned a heroic victory over world champions France but failed to secure qualification at the World Cup after Australia’s shock win over Denmark.

Les Bleus were handed a fright when Nader Ghandri escaped the clutches of Raphael Varane to prod home, but VAR came to the rescue for Didier Deschamps’ side to rule it out for offside. Wahbi Khazri then unleashed a rocket of a volley that Steve Mandanda carefully punched to safety. But Tunisia eventually broke through in the second half, as Khazri dribbled past Raphael Varane and slid the ball past Mandanda to spark wild scenes of celebration among the boisterous Tunisia fans.

Deschamps sent on Kylian Mbappe after 63 minutes, with the PSG star causing havoc as Tunisia desperately defended their lead, including a decent stop from Aymen Dahmen after a sensational dribble and shot from a tight angle.

Antoine Griezmann thought he had equalised in the 98th minute of the match, only for VAR to belatedly intervene. The Socceroos held on for second spot, but the full-time whistle prompted jubilent scenes of celebrations for Tunisia and their consolation win.

Here are the player ratings for Les Bleus at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan:

France vs Tunisia player ratings as Raphael Varane struggles

FT Tunisia 1-0 France

17:08 , Michael Jones

Group D finishes with France in first place followed by Australia in second. Both those teams end the group stages with six points each whilst a resolute Tunisia come third with four points.

The underachievers by far though were Denmark who took one point from a goalless draw against Tunisia in their opening game of the tournament.

They go home having finished bottom.

FT Tunisia 1-0 France

17:05 , Michael Jones

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Full-time: Tunisia 1-0 France

17:02 , Michael Jones

90+13 mins: There’s the whistle! Tunisia have a remarkable, fantastic victory over the reigning champions but that isn’t enough to get them through.

Australia have beaten Denmark in the other match so they join France in the last-16.

Nothing will spoil this victory for Tunisia though. They earned that win and they’ll celebrate it. Wahbi Khazri’s goal was the difference in the end.

NO GOAL! Tunisia 1-0 France

17:00 , Michael Jones

90+12 mins: The roar is deafening as the referee overturns the initial decision following a look at the pitchside monitor. Tunisia are back in front with seconds left on the clock!

What drama.

Tunisia 1-1 France

16:59 , Michael Jones

90+10 mins: Hold on a minute. VAR is checking whether Antoine Griezmann was offside in the build-up. Tunisia may still win this game...

GOAL! Tunisia 1-1 France (Griezmann, 90+8)⚽️

16:56 , Michael Jones

90+8 mins: Antoine Griezmann levels the game for France!

Tunisia are devasted. The ball is floated into the box and Montassar Talbi’s headed clearance goes nowhere. The ball falls to Griezmann who keeps his eye on the ball and volleys it wide of Aymen Dahmen to earn France a point!

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:54 , Michael Jones

90+6 mins: The Tunisian substitutes are huddling over a mobile phone in the dugouts trying to keep updated on the Australia vs Denmark game which remains 1-0.

On the pitch they’re repelling wave after wave of French attacks to maintain this slender lead. Two minutes to go.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:50 , Michael Jones

90+3 mins: Mbappe gets clipped on the heel and he makes his way toward the box, winning his team a free kick in a dangerous area.

It’s just outside the penalty area on the inside left, perfect shooting range. Mbappe is the one to take it and his effort is drilled straight into the wall.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:48 , Michael Jones

90 mins: There’s eight minutes of stoppage time to play. That’s a long time for Tunisia to hold back this French onslaught.

France are in total control now, they don’t want to lose this game.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:47 , Michael Jones

88 mins: Save! A flash of brilliance from Kylian Mbappe sees him storm down the left wing carrying the ball to the byline. He cuts into the box, evades a couple of tackles then fizzes an effort at goal only for Aymen Dahmen to push it wide!

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:43 , Michael Jones

84 mins: Tunisia are holding onto this lead as time ticks away. They’re doing all they can to make it into the knockout rounds but as it stands they need Denmark to score against Australia.

A switch of play from France sends the ball into the right side of the box where Dembele floats one over to the back post. Rabiot arrives and drills a shot into the ground which bounces wide of the target.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:40 , Michael Jones

81 mins: France win a corner that Griezmann swings into the box. There’s a scramble before the ball rolls over to Kolo Muani who backheels it out to Dembele.

Dembele goes for goal and laces a shot into the arms of Aymen Dahmen.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:36 , Michael Jones

78 mins: Mateo Guendouzi brings the ball over to the right and sends it up to Kolo Muani who then loses it to a strong challenge from Laidouni who continues to impress for Tunisia.

Didier Deschamps makes another change and introduces Ousmanne Dembele.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:35 , Michael Jones

75 mins: 15 minutes to play here and France are starting to impose themselves on the game by maintaining possession inside the Tunisian half.

They’re not challenging the goal though and Tunisia are managing the game okay at the minute.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:30 , Michael Jones

72 mins: Kolo Muani makes a great diagonal run over to the right as the ball gets flicked over the top. He brings it under control and weaves into the box but a back-tracking Aissa Laidouni nicks the ball away from him and Tunisia clear the danger.

Antoine Griezmann comes on to replace Youssouf Fofana.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:26 , Michael Jones

69 mins: Kylian Mbappe’s first touch is met with a chorus of cheers from both sets of fans as he makes a run down the left wing. He’ll be wanting to get himself on the score sheet today to move ahead in the race for the golden boot.

The game comes to another stop as a fan waving a Palestinian flag invades the pitch.

16:23 , Michael Jones

66 mins: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane was the man on the ground for Tunisia but he’s okay to play on.

Didier Deschamps has seen enough and makes a triple swap replacing Raphael Varane, Kingsley Coman and Jordan Veretout with William Saliba, Adrian Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:21 , Michael Jones

63 mins: There is a goal! Mathew Leckie has sent Australia ahead against Denmark. Tunisia now need Denmark to score if they want to go through.

There’s a break in play here for a potential injury.

Tunisia 1-0 France

16:19 , Michael Jones

61 mins: That goal is also Wahbi Khazri’s final involvement of the game as he’s replaced with Issam Jebali just as the clock ticks over the hour mark.

As it stands Tunisia are going through unless there is a goal in the match between Denmark and Australia.

GOAL! Tunisia 1-0 France (Khazri, 58’)⚽️

16:15 , Michael Jones

58 mins: There it is! Has Wahbi Khazri sent Tunisia into the knockout rounds?

France think there’s a foul in the middle of the pitch and stop playing to appeal to the referee who doesn’t blow the whistle. Tunisia poke it forward to their captain who carries the ball up to the box, shifts to the left and probs a soft effort wide of Steve Mandanda to sneak the ball into the far bottom corner!

Huge moment for Tunisia!

Tunisia 0-0 France

16:14 , Michael Jones

55 mins: Maaloul is given the ball by Laidouni and is allowed enough time to pick is spot in the box for a cross. Khazri sneaks in behind Camavinga but the ball is too far behind him for the forward to control and France’s left-back manages to clear.

Tunisia 0-0 France

16:11 , Michael Jones

52 mins: Close! Aissa Laidouni is played into the box and gets blocked off by Youssouf Fofana. Laidouni gives the French midfielder a slight nudge in the back and he goes down like he’s been shot.

The referee plays on and Laidouni collects the ball before blasting one over the top from a tight angle.

Tunisia 0-0 France

16:07 , Michael Jones

48 mins: Tunisia have a shout for a penalty after carrying the ball to the byline and pulling it back to Wahbi Khazri.

Aurelien Tchouameni beats him to the ball but clips the striker in the process who then falls to the floor but the referee has a good view of the incident and signals for play to go on explaining that Tchouameni won the ball.

Second half: Tunisia 0-0 France

16:03 , Michael Jones

Kick off: France restart the match having made no change in personnel during the break. Can Tunisia get a goal? As it stands that is all they need to make it into the knockout stages.

HT Tunisia 0-0 France

16:02 , Michael Jones

HT Tunisia 0-0 France

15:57 , Michael Jones

In the other Group D match taking place right now Denmark and Australia are also playing out a 0-0 draw meaning as it stands Australia will join France in the knockout rounds.

HT Tunisia 0-0 France

15:53 , Michael Jones

Tunisia have been the better side over the first half but they need more composure in the final third.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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