A bit area was all it took for Leo Messi to make the distinction on this one, with Enzo Fernández including yet another simply minutes earlier than stoppage time, giving Argentina its first factors of the World Cup and setting them up for a key showdown towards Poland on Wednesday to shut out the group stage, finally deciding the 2 groups who will transfer on the knockout part. Scaloni’s aspect lastly broke by way of close to halfway by way of the second half after Mexico had labored their defensive scheme to perfection to that time, stopping Argentina from any attractiveness all through.
I need to admit I used to be stunned at how effectively Mexico dealt with Argentina’s assault. Acuña, Rodríguez, Montiel, Di María, Messi, and others handed the ball round always 15-20 yards exterior the field the place no harm may very well be completed, failing to interrupt down the orderly defensive traces of their 5-3-2 formation, at occasions trying like a 5-4-1. Credit score to Mexico for sitting again successfully and ready for Argentina to make a mistake with a view to seek for a objective of their very own on the counter. And regardless of Mexico’s offense, or lack thereof, they managed to create a pair fascinating seems to be for themselves, the most effective approaching Alexis Vega’s forty fifth minute free kick straight to Emiliano Martínez’s outstretched arms.
The primary 18 minutes of the second half adopted the precise construction of the primary, with Argentina dominating ball possession, however not going additional than that. Proof of that ‘Memo’ Ochoa going untested apart from a free kick from the left flank that he deflected simply excessive within the air together with his fists. That a lot held true till the sixty fourth minute, when Di María took the ball on Mexico’s left flank, solely to seek out an open Messi within the center who’d quietly sneaked off Héctor Herrera’s radar and fired a wonderfully positioned ball to the underside proper nook, beating Herrera’s late slide in addition to Ochoa’s dive. An excellent shot actually, that solely La Pulga and counted others can execute successfully from that distance and with such a small window.
However on this match, the protection was hardly accountable. The offense was the true perpetrator, failing to create any kind of deliberate strategy on Martínez’s objective. As the sport went on, Mexico’s offense withered away faster every time and it grew to become obvious there was no true scheme behind it apart from having Lozano chase down lengthy balls and hoping for a mistake from any of the Argentine defenders, which as I acknowledged within the preview, was NEVER going to occur following their mistake that led to Saudi Arabia’s tying objective on Tuesday. You could possibly inform they had been additional cautious.
This technique resulted in mission unimaginable for Lozano, taking part in alone for the complete second half, pressured to not solely get well possession of the ball on protection, however instantly look to interrupt on his personal, dealing with 3 to five Argentine defenders each time with no assist by any means from different midfielders. Alexis Vega was nowhere to be discovered when ‘Chucky’ had the ball. Ultimately, the gassed Lozano was subbed off with 20 minutes left in favor of Roberto Alvarado who regarded scared and nothing close to what he’s proven he can do in Liga MX.
Raúl Jiménez got here on within the 66th minute and after a number of seconds, you forgot he was even within the sport. He touched the ball meaningfully a pair occasions, however total had zero affect on the match. Uriel Antuna changed a steamed Alexis Vega and likewise barely left a mark. As an alternative of serving to clean up the Mexico assault, the subs helped Argentina die down the assault and cruise to victory. Martino’s refusal to play Funes Mori stays baffling to me.
When it comes to the positives, the complete backline performed a heck of a sport. They had been respiration down Argentina’s necks each time they acquired the ball till the objective occurred, once we began to see extra open lanes. Additionally they weren’t overwhelmed within the air. I’ve to say that, contemplating Mexico’s aerial sport has traditionally been an enormous weak spot. Guardado was additionally implausible, overlaying floor and spreading the ball exactly, however couldn’t even go the total 45 minutes of the primary half resulting from a muscle harm. Héctor Herrera was additionally as much as the take a look at and made all the mandatory runs and coverages, besides on the Messi objective.
Avoiding any bitter grapes on my half, it’s vital all of us keep in mind this was an anticipated end result. We knew Mexico had been fielding its worst World Cup staff (particularly offensive unit) within the final 3 to 4 a long time. We knew Argentina shedding this match would’ve been a whole shock to the world. We knew Mexico supply little (if something) on offense and it’s confirmed true by way of these first two matches, the place Mexico stay scoreless. In different phrases, issues went down precisely the way in which we’d foreseen, and in all honesty, the most effective staff received, though they weren’t the most effective by a lot at present.
The loss just about eliminates Mexico from the World Cup. They sit lifeless final of their group and should defeat Saudi Arabia within the last match to even stand an opportunity. Their finest wager is for Poland to upset Argentina, and with that Mexico would transfer on instantly, however Poland’s precedence received’t be a win, as a draw is all they should clinch. If Argentina win nonetheless, Mexico might want to begin counting objective distinction with Poland, a struggle at present favoring the Europeans extensively.