Why Poland, not Mexico, qualified for round of 16 at FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Poland and Mexico were tied after their three Group C matches on four points but the Polish side qualified for the round of 16 based on better goal difference.

FILE PHOTO: Robert Lewandowski’s Poland edged Mexico on goal difference to finish second in Group C and qualify for the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

FILE PHOTO: Robert Lewandowski’s Poland edged Mexico on goal difference to finish second in Group C and qualify for the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Poland and Mexico were tied after their three Group C matches on four points but the Polish side qualified for the round of 16 based on better goal difference.

Poland and Mexico both finished with four points at the end of group stage of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar. However, it was the Polish team which qualified for the round of 16 as the second-placed team in Group C based on a better goal difference.

Going into the final round of group fixtures, Poland was at the top of the group with four points while Mexico had one point but Argentina’s 2-0 win over Poland, which meant Argentina topped the group with six points, and Mexico’s 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia tied Poland and Mexico at four points.

READ: FIFA World Cup tiebreakers - What happens if teams finish with same points during group stage of Qatar 2022

According to the official rulebook of the FIFA World Cup 2022, in such cases where two teams in the same group are tied at same points, the following criteria, in the order below, shall be applied to decide the ranking:

  • ⦿ superior goal difference (Goals scored minus goals conceded) in all group matches
  • ⦿ greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
  • ⦿ head-to-head record
Poland Mexico
Match 1Drew 0-0 with MexicoDrew 0-0 with Poland
Match 2Beat Saudi Arabia 2-0Lost 0-2 to Argentina
Match 3Lost 0-2 to ArgentinaBeat Saudi Arabia 2-1

Since Poland had a goal difference of zero while Mexico had a goal difference of -1, Poland went through to the knockout stage.

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