How can Mexico advance in the World Cup? Breaking down the scenarios

The likelihood for the Mexico National Team to reach the infamous ‘quinto partido,’ or fifth game, is in serious jeopardy following the team’s 2-0 loss against Argentina. 

Mexico has yet to break the drought of reaching the fifth game of the World Cup since it hosted the tournament in 1986, but the team is in danger of not even making it to the knockout rounds this year. Mexico has made the Round of 16 every year since 1978.

With one point coming from their opening match draw against Poland, Mexico sits at the bottom of Group C. While the odds seem low, Mexico still has a chance to advance out of the group, as long as they are able to beat Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. But, they’ll still need some help from Argentina or Poland in their match.

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Here’s how Mexico can advance to the Round of 16:

Mexico beats Saudi Arabia, Poland beats Argentina 

The simplest scenario: if Mexico beats Saudi Arabia and Poland beats Argentina, the standings would look like this:

Poland: 7 pointsMexico: 4 pointsArgentina and Saudi Arabia: 3 points

If this is the case, Mexico advances with the second most points, and would face the winner of Group D on Dec. 4. 

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Mexico beats Saudi Arabia, Argentina beats Poland

If Mexico wins and Argentina beats Poland, they’ll need Lionel Messi and company to do so in dominating fashion. 

This scenario would put Mexico, Argentina and Poland all with four points. If there is a three team tie for the two spots, it’ll be determined on goal differential. This is the current goal differential of the three squads:

Poland: +2Argentina: +1Mexico: -2

So if Mexico wins, it would need to beat Saudi Arabia by large margin, which could be a tough task considering the team hasn’t scored a World Cup goal since 2018 — going back 384 minutes. Mexico would also need a large win from Argentina to swing the goal differential in their favor.

In this scenario, Mexico would likely be the second place winner. 

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Mexico beats Saudi Arabia, Poland and Argentina draw 

If Poland and Argentina draw while Mexico wins, that puts Poland at the top with five points, along with Mexico and Argentina at four points.

With Argentina at a +1 goal differential, Mexico would likely need a scoreless draw from Argentina and Poland and to beat Saudi Arabia 4-0. With each goal scored by Argentina and Poland in a draw, Mexico needs to beat Saudi Arabia by at least four goals. 

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY