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Mexico-Argentina Preview

With the Americans taking the field this afternoon in Rustenberg, their North American rivals have been overshadowed in the press as Mexico takes on Argentina in a much anticipated showdown. Unlike many teams who are drawn into matches with each other in the World Cup, Mexico and Argentina actually have somewhat of a longer history against each other.

Argentina has in fact only played in one more World Cup than has the Mexican outfit at 14 Cups to 13. The main difference between them being  two world championships. Head-to-head as well has seen Argentina traditionally dominate play as Argentina carries 11 wins and 10 draws against the Mexicans who only have 4 victories.

The two teams played as recently as 2007 in tournament play in the Copa America, South America’s version of the Euro’s, Mexico being the invitee along with the United States.  It was an encounter that saw that the Argentinians dominate play on their way to a 3-0 victory.

The last meeting between the sides in friendly competition occurred in 2008 in Mexican friendly San Diego. But there would be no home advantage as the Argentinians did an imitation of their 2007 victory steamrolling to win 4-1 after Lionel Messi began the proceedings again with a beautiful goal.

Lionel Messi is the X-Factor in the game as he settles into his role as Argentina’s best player. He has 2 goals in two games against the Mexicans and will be looking to add to that tally against a very positive minded Mexican side.

But the past is the past for many fans of El Tri, many of their current day heroes were not even well known when that Copa America was played. The youth of Mexico have no doubt generated a lot of excitement in a country that had grown weary of their side’s ability to do well in local competitions but has never truly made noise on an international level.

Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez represent the youth of Mexican soccer with Hernandez being the “old man” of that bunch at an ancient 22 years of age. Hernandez has provided a spark to the Mexican attack that has never excelled at finishing with an amazing 8 goals in only 15 appearances. And among these three players combined are 22 goals in their short time as members of El Tri.

Argentina, with all of its world class talent, is by all means considered the favorite in this match against the inexperienced but very talented Mexican team. Messi, Higuain, and Tevez will be expected to attack early and often out of the three pronged 3-4-3 scheme that Coach Maradona is expected to put on the field.

However, the Mexicans will do well to play their normal brand of football which includes stifling the opposing offense by simply not allowing them the ball as they done throughout the group stage and against England and Italy in pretournament friendlies. But this task will be easier said than done against an Argentina team that puts a lot of pressure on the ball on defense.

Sunday’s Latin American match up may just leave us with a clearer idea of who may go deep into the tournament.

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One Response

  1. While I want to see Mexico and Germany win, I really want to see England and Argentina play.

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