Argentina vs Mexico Prediction
26th November 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Played:3 Argentina Wins:3
Argentina vs Mexico Match Overview
Argentina’s loss to Saudi Arabia sent shockwaves throughout the football world. Indeed, it was even more surprising as they went in 1-0 up at half-time courtesy of a Lionel Messi penalty. Saudi Arabia played most of the match with a high line, and Messi and Lautaro Martinez (twice) had the ball in the net three times in the first half. However, they were all ruled out for offside. Early in the second half, a lovely left-foot finish by Saleh Al-Shehri and a beautiful curling shot into the top corner from Salem Al-Dawsari condemned the Argentineans to defeat. They now know that Argentina vs Mexico is a must-win game. The Mexicans were the better team in a drab 0-0 draw with Poland. However, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa did have to make a penalty save from star Polish striker Robert Lewandowski. Argentina will be wounded after their loss, which could either be ominous for Mexico or play into their hands through the increased pressure Argentina now face.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Romero (Argentina); Jimenez (Mexico)
Will not play:
Argentina vs Mexico Analysis
Previous matches and Possible Changes
Both teams will be very disappointed with their opening results. Argentina’s loss was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history and ended their 36-game undefeated streak. They played poorly, struggling to create behind Saudi Arabia and not getting many men into the box for Angel Di Maria’s crosses. Furthermore, they could not get star player Lionel Messi into the game and were caught offside on ten occasions. They will seek to get back on track here, as will Mexico after their 0-0 draw with Poland. Argentina will likely line up in a 4-3-3 formation again. However, we predict Enzo Fernandez to come into midfield to replace Papu Gomez. This change will give the Argentineans more youth, creativity, and energy. Lisandro Martinez might replace Cristian Romero in defence as Romero might be carrying an injury. Nahuel Molina and Nicolas Tagliafico at full-back will have to drive forward and try to get in behind Jesus Gallardo and Jorge Sanchez when the Mexican full-backs attack. Mexico should also line up in a 4-3-3. Argentina will look to play much better against Mexico.
Width, Midfield Battle and Attackers
The width will be crucial in this match. Messi and Di Maria for Argentina, Alexis Vega and Hirving Lozano for Mexico and the four full-backs will be looking to link up and create potential overloads. Lozano and Vega will also look to get down the line and provide crosses and come inside to play cute little passes for Henry Martin or Luis Chavez to receive. Chavez and Vega looked bright against Poland, with Vega buzzing around and dribbling. Chavez showed press resistance, control of the game and class in midfield. It will be up to them to try to vacate the spaces the Argentine full-backs leave. However, Fernandez, Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo De Paul will try to cover these spaces, not allowing little passes out wide or between the lines. Likewise, Edson Alvarez and Hector Herrera must not allow the Argentineans to play cute little passes for Messi and Di Maria to get turned and attack the Mexican defence. We predict this will be a feisty Americas encounter since most midfielders on display are tough-tackling and fiery players.
Sanchez and Hector Moreno are Mexican suspension risks for the final game. However, they must still put in as many tackles as they can in Argentina vs Mexico. The Mexican centre-backs and defensive midfielders must keep Messi and Di Maria from dribbling at them. They must be mindful of Lautaro Martinez’s runs in behind and strong shooting. On the other side of the pitch, it will be up to Lisandro Martinez to start plays with his good passing ability. He and Nicolas Otamendi must also beware of the threat of tricky customers Vega and Lozano and the runs in behind and crosses for Martin or Raul Jimenez. Whoever prevails in the congested middle of the pitch will have the opportunity to find the tricky forwards and wingers and flying full-backs in the final third of the pitch. Argentina will likely have more possession, but Mexico are good at keeping the ball themselves. Indeed, they will press the Argentineans high to try to stop them from getting through to Messi and Di Maria. This pressing is crucial; the Mexicans will be in danger if Messi and Di Maria can receive the ball with space to either play passes forward or dribble.
Both teams can make substitutions to alter things in Argentina vs Mexico. Argentina can bring on talented young striker Julian Alvarez, as they did against Saudi Arabia if they need to be more open and score more goals. Marcos Acuna could start or come on at left-back, and Angel Correa is a buzzy option in attack too. There is also the elegant and classy Alexis Mac Allister, who can enter the game if Argentina need more creativity in attacking midfield areas. Mexico can replace Martin or Jimenez with the other depending on who starts. Orbelin Pineda and Uriel Antuna are also attacking possibilities. Veteran and captain Andres Guardado could replace Chavez as his set pieces are a weapon they can exploit.
Argentina Key Players
Paredes struggled against the Saudi midfielders in the first game and missed his midfield partner Giovani Lo Celso. Against Mexico, Paredes must be diligent and cover the spaces likely to appear when Tagliafico and Molina go forward. He will likely be involved in a significant midfield battle alongside teammates Rodrigo De Paul and Enzo Fernandez, including Alvarez, Herrera, and Chavez from Mexico. Paredes must hold firm, try to win this battle, and not let Chavez, Vega, or Lozano make runs off of him. The tussle in midfield is likely to be no holds barred and full of strong challenges and tough tackling. This game is the sort of feisty contest Paredes might relish.
Messi scored the penalty against the Saudis and had the ball in the net another time (ruled out for offside). However, it wasn’t his best game. At age 35, he struggles physically against younger, stronger, and faster players. However, he will use his football intelligence to conserve energy and find space between the Mexican defence and midfield. This situation is what Edson Alvarez must look to cover. If he doesn’t, Messi is very capable of picking the ball up in these spaces and running the game. Messi can dribble forward to take men out of the game in Argentina vs Mexico, and play cute little passes to the full-backs, Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez, or Julian Alvarez. He can also come onto Hector Moreno and Cesar Montes and try to use them as a guide to curl shots towards Guillermo Ochoa. Messi must be at his best if Argentina are to get a good result.
Mexico Key Players
In the first half, Gallardo was lively against Poland, getting forward with reckless abandon. He sometimes left the Mexicans short in the Polish right-wing area. However, the Mexican midfield generally covered these spaces. This freedom he has will also be vital to Mexico against Argentina. If he can get in behind Molina, he will be able to cross for the strikers or link up with Vega and look to play their way into the Argentinean box. Messi generally does not like to defend. Therefore, Gallardo might find some joy down the right-hand side of the Argentinean team. Defensively, however, there is the danger that he can be pushed back due to the Argentinean threat going forward. He must be disciplined and intelligent, choosing the right moments to attack and knowing when to hold his position.
Chavez added a touch of class to the Mexican midfield against the Poles. We were surprised he started over Mexican legend Andres Guardado. However, Chavez justified his inclusion through his short, snappy passing and general control of the game for the first hour at least. He linked up well with the combative Herrera and Edson Alvarez and also combined well with Vega and Lozano in the spaces. Chavez will look to do so again against Argentina. As with Paredes, he will likely be involved in a midfield battle. His press resistance against a formidable Argentinean midfield will prove crucial. If he can find gaps and space to play in, he can isolate Vega and Lozano against the Argentina full-backs. He can also get into the box himself and try to get shots on goal. He must perform well and try to run the show if Mexico are to get something from the game.
Argentina vs Mexico is a difficult game to call. However, it could either be a draw or a one-goal victory (more likely Argentina). The Argentines will be wounded after the first game. It could go two ways for them. They could come out against Mexico desperate to prove a point or crumble under the pressure of an expectant and demanding public back home. This game will be fiery, with two teams giving it their all and flying into challenges. However, Messi might produce one or two moments of magic to be the difference. We are therefore predicting a narrow 2-1 victory for Argentina and them to get their World Cup back on track. They have beaten Mexico three times at the World Cup, and they might make it four. If this transpires, Mexico will still have a chance of qualifying going into their final game, thanks to their draw against Poland.