- Argentina v Mexico
- Saturday, November 26, 2022, 14:00 ET
- At the Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Can Argentina bounce back after their opening game humiliation, or is their World Cup about to be over? MTS brings you the top picks for this crucial Group C game
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks Argentina are the big favorites with bettors ahead of this game, despite their loss to Saudi Arabia. The reigning Copa America champions are -172 with most sportsbooks, while Mexico are rated as only a +510 chance. And, if you think this one will end in a draw, you can back that outcome at odds of +305.
|Argentina v Mexico|
World Cup Group C Betting Briefing
As often happens in the World Cup, pre-tournament predictions were blown away when the real action began and Group C already has an upside-down look. Saudi Arabia are top of the section, with Poland in second place, after their opening draw with Mexico, while Argentina are rock bottom.
While Mexico are slightly better placed than Argentina, neither team can afford defeat here with only one more game apiece to come after this clash and both have significant concerns. The biggest problem, however, is for Argentina, who having blown what seemed like a straightforward opportunity to start with three points, need to find at least one win from their last two games.
And with France winning their opening game in convincing fashion in Group D, it looks as though it will be necessary to win Group C in order to avoid the reigning World Cup champions in the second round, placing extra pressure on both of these teams.
Test of Character for Argentina
Going into the tournament, all of the talk around Argentina was about Lionel Messi’s renewed international commitment and the fact that this was his last opportunity to get his hands on the World Cup. Argentina’s squad looked strong in all departments, well balanced and together.
All of that counted for nothing however in their opening game against Saudi Arabia. Argentina took the lead and had two more goals disallowed, but their concentration dropped, allowing Saudi Arabia back into the contest. From 2-1 down it was all about whether Argentina could break down the massed Saudi defense, but ultimately they failed.
It is, however, worth pointing out that there is a difference between the type of defeat with which Argentina opened the 1990 World Cup, when they played poorly and were deservedly beaten by Cameroon and the performance against Saudi Arabia. Lionel Scaloni’s team had nearly 70% of the possession against Saudi and outshot their opponents by 15-3.
Soccer being such a low-scoring game, this type of outcome happens from time to time. But it represents a severe test of character for this talented Argentina squad.
Mexico Optimistic Ahead of Argentina Clash
Although Mexico would have liked to pick up a win against Poland, their performance was encouraging and they arguably deserved more having secured more possession and taken more shots than their opponents, even if they were fortunate to survive a late penalty miss from Robert Lewandowski.
That performance gives them plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of this clash with Argentina, with an easier game against Saudi Arabia to finish the Group.
Although Saudi Arabia grabbed the headlines with their shock win, the Saudis were comprehensively outplayed by Lionel Messi and co, and Mexico will be confident that they can get the better of the second-lowest-ranked team in the competition.
The big question for Gerardo Martino here is whether to go for broke and push for the win that would give them a great chance to win the Group, or to play it safe and avoid defeat.
World Cup Group C Match Betting
For what it’s worth, Argentina are undefeated in ten games against Mexico, but that won’t count for much here, and Scaloni will be doing all he can to ensure that his team’s preparations are perfect.
Those preparations will not have been helped by lingering concerns about the captain’s fitness. Messi trained separately from the rest of the squad prior to their opener and having played every minute of that game, he may be in need of a rest here, which could result in Argentina switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Alessandro Gomez stepping into Messi’s role.
Mexico have problems of their own, however. Raul Jimenez did not feature in their opening game and his absence severely reduces their attacking threat. Martino has the option of playing Hirving Lozano in a false nine position or even starting with Rogelio Funes Mori up front, though neither option is ideal.
Ultimately, that lack of attacking edge from Mexico could be the difference here. While they may be happy with a point here, Argentina will be going all out for the three points, and though it is likely to be a close game, Scaloni’s team look like the best pick in the match betting markets.