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When was the last time Mexico missed the round of 16?

Mexico just barely missed out on qualifying for the round of 16 on Wednesday. We’re looking back at the last time they failed to make it out of the group.

Saudi Arabia v Mexico: Group C - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Mexico’s journey in the 2022 FIFA World Cup has come to a close despite a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia on the final day of play in Group C. They were incredibly close to jumping past Poland in second place as they were tied on points, goal differential, and goals scored for a good chunk of the second half of their respective matches on Wednesday. Poland lost 2-0 to Argentina while El Tri just needed one more goal to go through to the knockouts, but they were unable to find it and they’ll be heading home while Argentina and Poland will move on to the round of 16.

The last time Mexico failed to make it out of the group was in 1978, when they were unable to win a single match in Group 2 where they were paired with Tunisia, West Germany, and Poland. They finished with a -10 goal differential, only scoring twice and allowing 12 goals throughout all three group stage matches as Poland and West Germany advanced to the knockouts.

Mexico have qualified for the knockout rounds in their last eight consecutive World Cup appearances, dating back to 1986 when they made it to the quarterfinals before losing to West Germany on penalties. In the next seven World Cups between the span of 1994 and 2018, El Tri made it to the knockouts but were sent home in the round of 16 each time.

They’re already qualified for the 2026 World Cup along with the United States and Canada, as all three countries earn a spot as co-hosts of the next tournament.