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Poland, Mexico fighting for qualification through tiebreakers

The tiebreaker rule is coming heavily into play as Group C unfolds.

Luis Chavez of Mexico celebrates with teammates after scoring their team’s second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on November 30, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Mexico started out the day in last place with just one point, their backs against the wall as they headed into the final matchday of Group C against Saudi Arabia. Poland started on top of the group as they faced off against Argentina, but things have changed for both teams as they now find themselves in a battle for advancement into the round of 16.

With Poland down 2-0 to Argentina, and Mexico up 2-0 over Saudi Arabia, the two teams sit tied with four points and tied on goal differential as well. Both teams are tied on goals scored, which is the third tiebreaker, meaning the decision would come down to fair play points if these results hold.

Right now, Mexico has been issued seven yellow cards overall while Poland only has four, so Poland would go through assuming they don’t catch up to Mexico in yellow cards received before the end of the match.

Update: Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak received a yellow card in the 79th minute, bringing the fair play point standings to two between Poland and Mexico. Two more yellows from Poland in the rest of the match would result in the drawing of lots to decide who qualifies between Poland and Mexico, should the score lines hold.

Update, Mexico-Saudi Arabia stoppage time: Saudi Arabia pulled a goal back against Mexico to bring the score to 2-1 in the sixth minute of stoppage time, courtesy of Salem Al-Dawsari. Mexico still just needs one goal to go through, as they would own the goals scored tiebreaker over Poland if they can find one.

You can read here for more information on World Cup group stage tiebreakers.