Why Didn't Mexico Advance to the World Cup Knockout Stage?

Why Didn't Mexico Advance to the World Cup Knockout Stage? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Poland has advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

And until a stoppage time goal by Saudi Arabia, it looked like their advancement was going to come down to fair play rules to qualify. Were it not for Mexico conceding a late goal, Poland — who had five yellow cards — still would have gotten the second spot in the knockout stage due to El Tri’s seven yellow cards.

Poland moves onto the next stage of the tournament with Group C winner Argentina.

The final group C standings were:

  • Argentina, 6 points (+3 goal differential)

  • Poland, 4 points (0 goal differential)

  • Mexico, 4 points (-1 goal differential)

  • Saudi Arabia, 3 points (-2 goal differential)

Mexico got its first win Wednesday over Saudi Arabia, but that result came too late for El Tri which tied Poland in its opening World Cup contest before falling 2-0 to Argentina over the holiday weekend.

Entering Wednesday’s match against Saudi Arabia, Mexico had yet to score in Qatar.

That lack of goals proved to be the difference. Although, it nearly didn’t make it through on yellow cards.