Argentina will aim for nothing but a win when they take on Mexico in a do-or-die Group C clash on Saturday at the Lusail Stadium.

The Lionel Messi-led Argentina will try to edge out Mexico which could be deemed as the first World Cup final for the South American giants. Following their shock defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia in the first match, Argentina’s quest for their third World Cup title started in a very disheartening manner as they could not get past the challenge of Saudi Arabia bringing their 36 games unbeaten run to an end.

La Albiceleste saw a number of goals ruled out for offside and their opponents netted two goals within a space of six minutes to inflict misery on Messi’s team. With arch-rivals Brazil winning convincingly against Serbia, they could be on the brink of an unlikely exit from this competition despite being dubbed as one of the potential contenders for the title.

Their recent history with Mexico will likely inject some much-needed inspiration. But this World Cup has already witnessed a number of big scalps, and La Tri will try to continue that tradition.

Mexico looked a bit toothless in their last match with Poland and thanks to the brilliance of Guillermo Ochoa who saved a Robert Lewandowski penalty, they are still hanging by a thread.

While Ochoa rose high on a number of occasions, Mexico’s main problem lies with their attack which has not clicked in the last few World Cup matches. Argentina’s defence did show some vulnerability, and Mexico need to take advantage of that.

On paper, Argentina have a stronger squad but this World Cup has emerged to be a stronghold of the minnows and Mexico can definitely ring in a few surprises.

Team News & Tactics

Argentina

Lionel Scaloni will definitely ring in a few changes after their horror show in the first match. Emiliano Martinez will keep his place in the goal. Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez will start his first match on the big stage alongside Cristian Romero, who has been a rock in the backline for La Albiceleste.

Gonzalo Montiel could also be introduced at right-back, while Nicolas Tagliafico will keep his place on the left side of the defence.

Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes will have Alexis Mac Allister as their assistant in the middle of the park. In the final third, Lautaro Martinez will be flanked by Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria.

Probabl Lineup (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Montiel, Romero, Lisandro Martinez, Tagliafico; Mac Allister, Paredes, De Paul; Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez, Messi

Mexico

Former Argentina manager Tata Martino will likely field the same lineup. Guillermo Ochoa might have to repeat his heroics in the goal. The same back four could be seen – Jorge Sanchez, Hector Moreno, Cesar Montes and Jesus Gallardo will reappear in the defence.

Edson Alvarez has been a consistent performer for Ajax, and he needs to replicate that performance for his country. Luis Chavez and Hector Herrera will be his accomplice in the midfield. Henry Martin will start upfront, and he will have the service of Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega from the flanks.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ochoa; Sanchez, Montes, Moreno, Gallardo; Herrera, Alvarez, Chavez; Lozano, Martin, Vega

Key Stats

  • Argentina are unbeaten in their last ten games with Mexico
  • Mexico are yet to register a win in the World Cup against Argentina having lost all three matches.
  • Should Argentina lose both of their games in the group stage it will be the first time such instances will happen.
  • Lionel Messi’s side has lost the last four out of the six matches.

Key Player

Lionel Messi

The stage is set for unarguably Argentina’s second-best player after Diego Maradona. Messi converted from the spot in the last match but his team could not capitalize on chances, and the Paris Saint-Germain man will try to make his presence felt once again.

Prediction

Argentina 1-0 Mexico

Both teams will be pressing for a win and Argentina’s superior quality is bound to give them an edge over their South American counterpart. A slender win for the Argentine might be in the offing given their urge to grab a spot in the knockouts.

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