World Cup 2022: Mexico vs Argentina match preview

Argentina are under huge pressure to get a win after the shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in their Group C opener.

Leo Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi during training before their crunch game against Mexico [Issei Kato/Reuters]
  • Who: Argentina vs Mexico, Group C
  • Where: Lusail Iconic Stadium
  • When: Saturday, November 26 at 10pm (19:00 GMT)
  • Fifa ranking: Argentina (3), Mexico (13)
  • Head-to-head record: 20 games – 14 wins for Argentina, two for Mexico, two draws
  • Last five matches:
    • Argentina: L W W W W
    • Mexico: D L W L W

This is a do-or-die match for Argentina. A loss against Mexico, and Lionel Messi’s men will be booking an early flight home from Qatar.

Until Saudi Arabia blew this group wide open with their shock victory over La Albiceleste on Tuesday, Argentina’s form had been truly imperious – unbeaten in more than 30 games, and one of the favourites to lift the trophy at the Qatar World Cup.

If Argentina fail to regroup after the devastating upset, it will mean an ignominious exit and the sourest of notes on which end to Messi’s international career.

Argentina’s defence is (usually) rock solid, and it would be a surprise if Mexico manage to break through on goal. Likewise, as we saw in their 0-0 draw against Poland on Tuesday, Mexico’s defence is good, though certainly permeable.

And goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, appearing in his fifth World Cup, who saved a penalty from Poland’s Barcelona star Robert Lewandowski, will still be tough to beat.

Argentina have Messi, Angel di Maria, Julian Alvarez and Inter teammates Lautaro Martínez and Joaquin Correa all available in attack.

Mexican hopes will largely rest on the shoulders of striker Raul Jimenez, who has only started a handful of times for the Wolverhampton Wanderers this season. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has been left at home.

According to the FIFA rankings, Mexico (13th) are a far better team than Saudi Arabia (51st). They have played in eight consecutive World Cups and their fans in Qatar are among the loudest. But Argentina remain a top team, and they have their backs against the wall. Expect fireworks.

Source: Al Jazeera