Argentina suffered one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when they lost to Saudi Arabia in their first group match. Despite being ahead 1-0 at half time and looking comfortable, they produced a stinker of a second half to end up on the wrong end of a 1-2 scoreline.
Here they face Mexico at the Losail Iconic Stadium and probably need to win to keep their World Cup destiny in their own hands. Mexico played out a drab 0-0 draw vs Poland in what was one of the worst matches of the entire tournament so far.
If you’re planning on building a bet builder for today’s contest, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the inside track on shots, shots on target, corners, cards, xG figures and more from the teams’ World Cup qualification and first group matches in Qatar. If you want to learn more about how the data works, check out my Stats Pack Guide here.
After their shock loss to Saudi Arabia the Argentina XI is very uncertain. Manager Lionel Scaloni could make several changes with the most likely being Lisandro Martinez replacing Cristian Romero at centre back. Brighton midfielder Alexis McAllister could be a candidate to replace Papu Gomnez, whilst Nicolas Tagliafico and Nahuel Molina are also under pressure after some poor performance’s vs Saudi Arabia. There is talk that Sevilla’s Marcos Acuna could feature at left back.
Mexico are unlikely to make too many changes following their 0-0 draw vs Poland. A similar 4-3-3 formation is to be expected with Vega and Lozano on either wing. The one change might come upfront where Henry Martín could be replaced by Wolves striker Raúl Jiménez. Mexico seemed to lack the firepower vs Poland and Jiménez’s physical presence upfront could be just what they need.
Argentina are not an overly high scoring team, only averaging 1.56 goals per 90 mins. This correlates very closely to their xGA of 1.70. At the other end of the field their defence has been watertight, conceding just 0.56 goals against per match. They’ve overachieved in this department compared to their xGA of 1.12.
Argentina average a decent 13.56 shots per match but only 5.22 on target. Their low corner count of just 4.83 per 90 mins does stand out, probably because their wingers tend to cut inside a lot. It is no surprise to see Argentina draw an average of 3 cards per 90 mins considering their technical mastery. They’ve been quite clean themselves, picking up only 1.67 cards per match.
Mexico are also not a particularly high scoring team averaging just 1.21 goals per match. They are underachieving with that metric compared to 1.96 xG. At the other end of the field, they have a legitimately strong defence, averaging just 0.94 xGA per 90 mins.
They are a team who tend to shoot quite a lot, 14.25 per match but they are not very accurate averaging only 3.75 SOT. Mexico like to stretch the field at times, so it is no surprise to see them average a high number of corners at 6 per 90 mins. They draw 2.71 cards per game which is fairly high and probably a by-product of their technical style of play.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Lionel Messi leads the Argentinian shots with 4.21 per 90 mins. He has just a 1.64 rate for SOT’s which is probably lower than most would expect. Angel Di Maria is much more accurate with his shooting and ranks best for any Argentinian SOTs (1.80 per match). Di Maria only averages 2.70 shots per 90 mins and is much more precise with his attempts. Striker Latauro Martinez fires in an average of 3.07 shots per match and has a SOT rate of 1.26.
There are several Mexican players who love to shoot, but the general theme is their accuracy is quite poor. Hirving Lozano averages 4.26 shots per 90 mins but has a SOT rate of less than 25% at just 1.10. Raúl Jiménez could get the start in this match and also averages a high number of shots (3.92) but at an even worse conversion rate of only 0.65 SOT per game. Ariel Vega (3.29) is another who likes a shot and his SOT rate of 1.44 is one of the best in the Mexican ranks
Player Goals and Assists
Lionel Messi leads the Argentinian goalscoring charts with 8 goals in 16 starts. Surprisingly though, he has no assists in that timeframe. Lautaro Martinez and Rodrigo De Paul rank joint best for the team in that category with three each. Martinez is the second leading scorer with 7 goals, whilst Angel Di Maria has scored three goals in 14 starts.
Raúl Jiménez led the scoring charts for Mexico with three goals but as aforementioned, his overall SOT rate is poor. Mexico’s top assist provider during qualifying, Jesus Corona, is ruled out of the tournament through injury. Henry Martin, who started vs Poland, scored 2 goals in 2 qualifying starts, but will probably get rested to the bench here.
Nicolas Otamendi and Leandro Paredes are the clear stand outs for Argentina cards with 5 and 4 each respectively. Paredes has significantly more fouls per 90 mins averaging 1.97 to Otamendi’s 0.51, who can be more prone to picking up a card for dissent or tactical fouls. Nicolas Tagliafico averages the most fouls per 90 mins for Argentina (2.28) and also has three cards. Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul only averages 1.08 fouls per match with just two cards.
The trio of Raúl Jiménez, Hirving Lozano and Uriel Antuna all average close to being fouled nearly 3 times each per 90 mins. The wingers would especially look like the most likely players to draw fouls. Vega is currently set to start ahead of Antuna though and only draws 1.38 fouls per match. Should Tagliafico keep his place in the Argentinian team then his match up with Lozano could be a difficult one.
Match-Ups to watch
Nicolas Otamendi vs Raúl Jiménez
Nicolas Tagliafico vs Hirving Lozano
Leandro Paredes vs Luis Chávez
Mexico are persistent foulers and obtain several cards. Should Nestor Araujo start, or even feature at any stage then he is a massive candidate to pick up a card. He obtained 4 in just 9 qualifying starts which is nearly a 50% rate. Ajax midfielder Edson Alvarez averages 1.78 fouls per 90 mins, in addition to picking up three cards.
Another man in the middle, Hector Herera averages 1.50 fouls per match and picked up a couple of cards. Hirving Lozano has the highest average fouls per 90 mins (2.28). Defenders Jorge Sánchez and Héctor Moreno were the two Mexican players to go in the book vs Poland.
Surprisingly, there are three other players who are fouled more than Lionel Messi. Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul is fouled on average 3.31 times per 90 mins, whilst Papu Gomez has a mark of 2.75 in that category. Another man worth mentioning is striker Lautaro Martinez, who is fouled on average 2.57 times per match. Midfielder Leandro Paredes likes to get stuck into some duels and is fouled 1.67 times per 90 mins. A matchup vs Edson Alvarez could be a spicy encounter in this game.
Match-Ups to watch
Edson Alvarez vs Leandro Paredes & Rodrigo De Paul
Héctor Moreno vs Lautaro Martinez
Jorge Sánchez vs Lionel Messi