Argentina will clash against Mexico for the second time in a friendly encounter in the space of five days at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on Tuesday.
Argentina and Mexico are set to resume their rivalry once again, as they lock horns in another international friendly in Mendoza on Tuesday night.
The two countries met on Friday night in Cordoba, with the Albiceleste emerging victorious, courtesy of a goal from Ramiro Funes Mori and an Isaac Brizuela own goal. And, Argentina’s caretaker manager Lionel Scaloni will be hoping to get another victory under his belt, to wind down what has been a rather disappointing year for the South American heavyweights.
Mexico’s defeat against Argentina last week was their fourth in five games since the summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. It has been a difficult year for the Central American nation and interim manager Ricardo Ferretti will be keen on ensuring that El Tri finish it on a high with a triumph in Mendoza.
Team News & Tactics
Superstars Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain continue to be absent from Scaloni’s squad. Argentina lined up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in the last game, but are likely to revert to a four-man defence for Tuesday’s game, with changes in plenty on the cards.
Geronimo Rulli is set to start in goal, replacing Agustin Marchesin, who started last time out. Gabriel Mercado should come into the team at right-back for the game, while Marcos Acuna is set to start out on the left side of the backline. An the heart of the defence, Walter Kannemann is likely to pair up with the goalscorer from last game, Ramiro Funes Mori.
21-year-old Santiago Ascasibar will likely play the anchor in the middle of the park for the Albiceleste, with Watford’s in-form man Roberto Pereyra set to take up another slot. Tottenham Hotspur’s Erik Lamela is likely to take up a free role in centre of the pitch.
Maximiliano Meza will likely get the nod on the right side of the attacking trident in place of Angel Correa, while Rodrigo de Paul, who made his debut for Argentina last month should start out on the left flank. Spearheading the attack for the home team will be Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Rulli; Mercado, Kannemann, Funes Mori, Acuna; Pereyra, Ascasibar, Lamela; Meza, Icardi, de Paul
The Mexicans are also without a number of heavy hitters in the squad, with the likes of Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Andres Guardado all absent. Guillermo Ochoa and Miguel Layun, who started in the last match, are set to miss out with injuries.
Ricardo Ferretti is also likely to make a few changes to the side that started the last game in Cordoba. 28-year-old Hugo Gonzalez should start over Jesus Corona in goal. Tigres’ defender Luis Rodriguez is likely to start at right-back, while Jesus Gallardo should get the nod on the left side. Nestor Araujo and Julio Dominguez should line up at the centre.
Javier Guemez is likely to take up one of the two pivot positions in the middle of the park. He will be in charge of shielding his back four, while his partner, 23-year-old Erick Gutierrez will take up the playmaking duties in the middle of the park.
20-year-old Roberto Alvarado has been in promising form for his club Cruz Azul and could start out on the right flank, while Javier Aquino is in line to feature from the start on the left wing. Victor Guzman should get the nod over Marco Fabian in the no. 10 role, while Wolves’ centre-forward Raul Jimenez is set to lead the line.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gonzalez; Rodriguez, Araujo, Dominguez, Gallardo; Guemez, Gutierrez; Alvarado, Guzman, Aquino; Jimenez
- Argentina have the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head record between the two countries, having won 14 of the 33 contests against Mexico, while El Tri have been victorious on just five occasions.
- La Albiceleste have won ten of their last 16 encounters against the Mexicans (D5 L1).
- The last time El Tri beat Argentina was fourteen years ago, in July 2004 in a Copa America clash.
- Having failed to keep a single clean sheet during the FIFA World Cup, Argentina have managed four shut-outs in their five matches since the summer’s blockbuster.
Player to watch
After spending years as an outcast from the national team, the Inter Milan captain is finally back into the thick of things for Argentina under Lionel Scaloni. The 25-year-old has established himself as a lethal marksman in European football and has been in belligerent form for his club in the ongoing campaign, having already netted 10 times in 13 matches, while laying on two assists.
Icardi has donned the national team colours on seven occasions so far, but is yet to find the back of the net. He will be hoping to set that right when he takes the field against Mexico on Tuesday night.
Argentina 1-0 Mexico
Both Argentina and Mexico are teams in a transitional phase, as they look to usher in a new era after their disappointing World Cup campaigns. Having played each other only days before, they would have gotten a good measure of what to expect from one another and it promises to be a tightly-contested, cagey affair.
However, Argentina seem to have just the slightest edge over the Mexicans in terms of overall quality in their ranks. And that is why, we at The Hard Tackle expect them to pick up a narrow victory over El Tri on Tuesday.