At the Lusail Stadium, Lionel Messi and Argentina face Mexico with the knowledge that a failure would result in an embarrassing exit from the group stage. They will have to avoid defeat without Paulo Dybala in the starting XI. Here, find out why.
The second round of Group C matches at the World Cup features Argentina against Mexico, a game with significant World Cup history. Argentina’s World Cup prospects rest on a win over El Tri, who have won just five of the teams’ previous 35 matches; the two teams have not played a meaningful game since the 2010 World Cup, when La Albiceleste won 3-1.
Since their first match in July 1930, La Albiceleste have amassed 16 victories. They easily beat El Tri 4-0 in their last meeting, a friendly in September 2019, with Inter striker Lautaro Martinez scoring a hat-trick.
The last time Mexico beat Argentina was in July 2004 at the Estadio Elias Aguirre during the Copa America. Ramon Morales secured the win for the home team in the ninth minute. Additionally, Gerard Martin’s side have not won a World Cup match since 2014 when they beat Japan 1-0 in Russia and have lost eight of their last 10 matches against Argentina, drawing just twice.
Paulo Dybala missed eight games for Roma due to a hamstring injury, and his inclusion in the team for 2022 Qatar was very questionable. However, he did make a short comeback as a substitute in Roma’s 1-1 tie with Torino, their last game before the World Cup break.
After naming Dybala to the World Cup roster, Lionel Scaloni said he could have to rethink the decision due to fitness concerns. It seems as if the forward is doing ok now. The squad might see his first minutes of action of the tournament so far in the match against Mexico, and they could need his deadly touch.
However, he will start the game from the bench. Therefore, Scaloni has opted for Lionel Messi to be a part of a front three consisting of the Italian league’s Lautaro Martinez of Inter and Angel Di Maria of Juventus.
Interestingly, the White and Sky Blue’s 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia may have been avoided if they had striker the 29-year-old. Without Dybala, the Argentine offense struggled in their opener. Even with Messi’s leadership, the team managed just six shots on goal.