Argentina v Mexico
The heat is on for Argentina just one game into their stuttering World Cup campaign.
Lionel Scaloni’s charges appeared to be on course for a routine victory over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday when Lionel Messi fired them into the lead after just 10 minutes. But their opponents had other ideas, coming back from behind in the second half to secure one of the biggest upsets in competition history and leave the highly favoured Albiceleste on the brink.
Defeat in either of their last two Group C games would guarantee an early exit for the South American side, and they will have no margin for error on Saturday against a Mexico team which seems to have ridden out its own storm early on in Qatar.
Mexico went into their opener against Poland surrounded by doubt and uncertainty, with coach Gerardo Martino in particular the target for savage criticism over his team’s recent performances.
They earned a 0-0 draw in their opening game and were thankful that Lewandowski was unable to convert his chance from the penalty spot. The Mexicans were the brighter side for large periods of the game, but they were unable to create many clear opportunities despite piling on the pressure.
After an embarrassing defeat, the pressure is on Argentina to win their next group game on Saturday and give themselves a chance of qualifying to the round of 16. Lionel Scaloni’s side will be delighted to be up against Mexico, a team that they are unbeaten against in the last 10 meetings.
Despite losing, Argentina dominated on xG (2.26 v 0.15) and even had three goals chalked off. Argentina are normally solid in defense too, having kept 10 clean sheets in CONMBEOL qualifying. This, as well as the fact that Mexico lack a clear no 9 mean that they shouldn’t concede on Saturday. With all this in mind, I believe Messi will rally his team to a win against Mexico and finally show the world why Argentina were strong favorites to win this tournament.
Messi operated primarily in the pocket just off the right in the last game. This will put him in direct opposition with Jesus Gallardo on Saturday. Lionel’s close control and ability to shift the ball out of tight areas make him the ideal candidate to be fouled.
Gallardo put in a strong display against Poland; making 4 tackles and completing 2 successful dribbles. He also committed 1 foul and he should be even busier in this match. The left-back averaged 1.31 fouls per game coming into the tournament and we expect him to be amongst the fouls in a game that is so important for both teams.
Vega had 5 shots as Mexico searched for the opening goal against Poland. The winger was a bright spark and constantly looked to get involved in the attacking phase. We highlighted him before the first game for his exceptional pace and superb shooting technique. He displayed all of those qualities and we expect him to rise to the occasion on Saturday.
The winger averaged 3.03 shots per 90 minutes for Mexico in the 5 matches the national team played prior to first game of the group. The attacker has all the qualities to cause problems for an Argentine defence that were rocked by 5 minutes of brilliance from Saudi Arabia just days ago.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 7/1 Argentina v Mexico Bet Builder. Here are the two possible outcomes:
* I recommend waiting for confirmed team line-ups before placing any bets *
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *