LUSAIL, Qatar ( Associated Press) — Not long after the final whistle, Luis Chavez lay crouched on the pitch with anguish on his face.
His free-kick goal – a spectacular shot from 30 yards or more – was the second in Mexico’s desperate attempt to survive the World Cup in Qatar.
Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia was not enough. With Argentina’s 2–0 victory over Poland at the same time in Group C, El Tri missed the group stage of a World Cup for the first time since 1978.
Chavez said, ‘There is a lot of frustration. “We had a lot to give in the first two games and it wasn’t enough for us.”
Mexico were in a whirlwind of emotions at Lusail Stadium, with one goal not allowed in the final minutes and one against.
A CONCACAF power, the team led by Argentine coach Gerardo Martino arrived with the goal of at least reaching the long-awaited fifth game. It was a far cry from that example.
El Tri finished with four points, but the win was not enough to advance. Poland added the same number of points and moved ahead with a better goal difference behind Argentina, which reached six. Saudi Arabia closed with three.
Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said, “Sad, but the group is proud, they have their heads held high.” We talked before the game that whatever happens, we have to give everything for our country.
Ochoa, 37, reiterated that he would like to play in his sixth world championship, which will be hosted by Mexico, the United States and Canada in 2026.
Ochoa said, “The goal was not to survive this round, but I think the team competed well in each game.” “Today the team gave of themselves, they ran, we created chances.”
Mexico came into the World Cup clash against Saudi Arabia with a long scoring drought, going 431 minutes without scoring.
In the first half he desperately searched for it without success. It was in complement that Henry Martin opened the scoring at the end and then Chávez’s superb free kick, two debutants in Qatar.
But as the minutes went by, the frustration and drama mounted. Arrival and shot that didn’t materialize until Uriel Antuna managed to send it into the net but the goal was disallowed for offside. The target of an exemption from the Saudis, Salem Aldawsari’s work almost fell into agony.
Ochoa said, “I think we could have scored more goals.” “We weren’t right, we were out of place. Damn it”.