Argentina vs. Mexico at Loftus Versfeld Stadium Pretoria, South Africa 2:30 PM EST Sunday June 27, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: 1.50 / Mexico 6.50 / Draw 4.00
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Argentina -222 / Mexico +600 / Draw +300
Mexico takes on Argentina in a first round playoff match and it will not be easy for the Mexican squad since Argentina has looked solid in their 3 group matches. Argentina won all three of their group matches while Mexico only won one and made the knockout stage because of a better goal differential than South Africa after both teams had the same amount of points.
Mexico is a very young squad that will be facing a very experienced Argentina team that is stacked with world-class talent. Argentina has the best young striker in the world in Lionel Messi, but he has not scored yet, which points to the fact they are playing great as a team.
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Mexico has a good defense and they will have to play well since Argentina has a dynamic offense with the likes of Messi, Carlos Tevez, Martin Palermo and Gonzalo Higuain. Palermo and Higuain are the only ones of this bunch to score for Argentina, but that will change in this match.
Argentina’s weakness was supposedly their defense, but they have played well in South Africa only conceding one goal in their 3 group matches.
Mexico only won one group match and even though they beat France they lost to Uruguay and drew with South Africa. Argentina is riding high and playing with a ton of confidence and Mexico will have to play a near-perfect match to pull off the huge upset.
Argentina will attack all match and Mexico has to take advantage of counter-attacking opportunities.
It is interesting that these 2 teams met in the first playoff match in the World Cup in Germany 4 years ago and Argentina squeaked out a 2-1 win.
Argentina Recent Form:
6/22/2010 Argentina 2 Greece 0 (World Cup)
6/17/2010 Argentina 4 South Korea 1 (World Cup)
6/12/2010 Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 (World Cup)
Mexico Recent Form:
6/22/2010 Mexico 0 Uruguay 1 (World Cup)
6/17/2010 Mexico 2 France 0 (World Cup)
6/11/2010 Mexico 1 South Africa 1 (World Cup)
Argentina captain Javier Mascherano and strikers Carlos Tevez and Higuain and defenders Gabriel Heinze and Walter Samuel will likely start in this match after getting a rest in their last group match. Jonas Gutierrez will be back on the squad after sitting out the last match because of a suspension.
Mexico has a solid offense with attacking strikers and they may be better in this match with Carlos Vela coming back from a hamstring injury. Efrain Juarez is back from being suspended in the last group match.
The lack of experience for the Mexican squad may hurt them in this match, as they cannot afford to make mistakes, especially on defense as Argentina will make them pay.
Since Mexico is outmatched they may go all out against Argentina and really push the envelope on offense, as it may be their only chance to win.
Rafael Marquez, Javier Hernandez, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco will have to pressure the Argentinean defense and look for one of these guys to score.
The Mexico defense has a tall task in this game, but the longer that they keep Argentina from scoring the more confident the team will be. Mexico will be in big trouble if they allow Argentina to score an early goal.
Mexico G scar Prez has been decent so far in South Africa, but he will be tested in this match, big time, and he will not be able to keep a clean sheet.
Jason’s Pick: This will likely be a very exciting match, as both teams will be attacking from the opening whistle. Mexico does have some solid strikers and they are young and play with passion, but Argentina simply has too much firepower up front and they will not be denied. Look for Argentina to win this match by a score of 3-1 or 4-1 and I think Messi will finally find the back of the net and score.