Mexico coach Tata Martino said he expects Wednesday’s final Group C match against Saudi Arabia to go full steam from the start, with both teams needing a big win to seal their place in the knockout round.
Mexico, who were held 0-0 by Poland in their opening match, are bottom of the group with one point after Argentina resumed their campaign on Saturday thanks to fine second-half efforts from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez.
Martino’s side, who are yet to score in this tournament, will likely need to beat third-placed Saudi Arabia by at least three goals on Wednesday to have any chance of advancing to the last 16. Is enough.
Argentine Martino said: “As long as there are chances, we always need to try. Saudi Arabia need to win the game and score goals, and so do we.
“I think that in life and here, with these guys, footballers who compete on a daily basis are used to bouncing back when we have to. It’s hard, of course. It’s definitely hard… The second goal was really bad for us.”
Playing off the counter and finishing challenges all over the field, Mexico’s high-pressing style stifled most of Argentina’s attack as well as their superstar Lionel Messi, with veteran captain Andres Guardado in midfield.
But Guardado came off the field with an injury late in the first half and the Argentine national team looked more determined after the break, before Messi’s magical moment got out of trouble and substitute Enzo Fernandez curled in to seal the score.
“We were playing just as efficiently as usual, Argentina didn’t have clear chances until then (Messi’s goal)… We were interested in looking for spaces, and the idea was to stop the midfield and then react very quickly.
We may not have done as well as we expected when it came to offense. We missed the final pass… We didn’t lose our style but we lost our consistency when it came to holding the ball and pushing the numbers like we did in the previous moments.
“I don’t think it happened against Poland but I saw it in the second half today…but we played a great opponent and I’m sure we will play the same way in our next game.
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