Sunday, June 27, 2010

Argentina vs Mexico - Preview


18:30 GMT, June 27, 2010
Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa

Argentina and Mexico clash at Soccer City on Sunday in a repeat of their second-round tie of four years ago. That game in Leipzig was an end-to-end affair, with the sides only separated by Maxi Rodriguez's superb extra-time strike.
There are comparisons to be drawn between the two fixtures. In Germany, Argentina had strolled through their group to set up the second-round date with Mexico and were considered hot favourites to make the quarter-finals, but Mexico had different ideas and took the game to their South American rivals. Expect a similar approach this time around.
Mexico may have been more impressive in South Africa than they were at the last World Cup, but Argentina, in reaching the knockout stages with a 100% record, remain the pundits' choice to make it through.

Competition Stats

GoalsGonzalo Higuaín 3Rafael Márquez 1
AssistsRafael Márquez 1
YellowsJonás Gutiérrez 2Efraín Juárez 2

The Kings - Coaches Javier Aguirre and Diego Maradona.

Argentina player to watch: Carlos Tevez - The Manchester City striker has been somewhat overshadowed at this World Cup so far by the mesmerising skills of Lionel Messi and the goals of Higuain. That said, Tevez has still been a tricky customer throughout and it could be that placing too much emphasis on marking Messi and Higuain could free up space for Tevez.
Mexico player to watch: Carlos Salcido. PSV Eindhoven defender Salcido has been one of the star performers of this World Cup. His marauding, skilful runs up the left flank from the back have caused problems for opposition defences and there is every chance that Argentina's soft under-belly could come unstuck from one of these bursts.
Key battle: Guillermo Franco v Jonas Gutierrez - As a tricky midfielder playing at right back, Gutierrez has looked an accident waiting to happen for Argentina so far. With Mexico sure to break frequently and with pace, they are likely to target Gutierrez as a weak point. Franco will look to attack this area with support from Salcido.
Trivia: Gabriel Heinze, Javier Mascherano, Maxi Rodriguez and Carlos Tevez all played in the 2006 game against Mexico and Messi was on the bench. Carlos Salcido, Rafael Marquez, Ricardo Osorio, Andres Guardado and Gerardo Torrado all played for Mexico.
Stats: Argentina have had 64 shots so far in this World Cup, the most of any side at the tournament.
Odds: Argentina (1.53), the draw (4.00) and Mexico (7.00) with Bet365. Argentina are 4.33 to repeat the feat of 2006 and win in extra-time.
Prediction: A real test of Argentina's credentials, Mexico's ability to take the chances they will surely create will shape this game. Perhaps Argentina will not yet have come up against a team truly capable of exploiting their weaknesses.

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