Robert Lewandowski Nov 30, 2022; Doha, Qatar; Poland forward Robert Lewandowski (9) moves the ball while defended by Argentina defender Nahuel Molina (26) during the first half in a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Stadium 974. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

It was a chaotic and shocking end to Group C action at the FIFA World Cup as Poland and Mexico were playing in separate games. But as Argentina was beating Poland and Mexico was beating Saudi Arabia, the two sides went against each other to see who would finish second in the group.

In the end, Poland would advance thanks to a late Saudi Arabia goal that resulted in a 2-1 Mexico win instead of 2-0. As a result, Poland beat Mexico due to goal differential. But if that Saudi goal weren’t scored, Poland would’ve advanced with the seventh tiebreaker, which was FIFA Fair Play points. Poland had five yellow cards compared to Mexico’s seven and still would’ve advanced. That was one tiebreaker away from “drawing of lots,” which last happened at a World Cup in 1990 between Ireland and the Netherlands.

To summarize what took place. When Mexico scored their second in the 52nd minute and Argentina scored their second in the 67th, the scores led to the yellow card tiebreaker. Poland got a yellow card in the 78th minute to make it 7-5 on yellow cards. And when Poland-Argentina ended, that was the case. But Saudi Arabia scored a shock goal in the 95th minute to do away with the Fair Play tiebreaker but kept Mexico needing a goal to advance. That goal never came, and Mexico was eliminated from the group stage for the first time since 1978.

The end of Group C was reversed from the end of the first matchday. Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina and the Saudis were top of the group while Argentina was last. By the end, it went as expected with Argentina finishing top and Saudi Arabia finishing last. With Argentina winning the group, they face Australia in the round of 16 and the winner of that may potentially face the United States in the quarterfinal if the USMNT were to defeat the Netherlands.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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