Following their 7-0 hammering of Bolivia in Houston at the weekend, it’s now on to Arlington for Argentina as they continue to make Texas their temporary home.
Lionel Messi and Co. take on Mexico at the AT&T Stadium—the usual home of the Dallas Cowboys—and given the Lone Star State’s proximity to their opponents, they might find that their support is outnumbered as they are in search of a second successive win following their disappointment in the Copa America final back in July.
As for Mexico, memories of their Gold Cup win in the summer are still very much in the minds of players and supporters, but for new interim coach Ricardo Ferretti, this clash with the 2014 World Cup runners-up will offer up a perfect chance to prepare for October’s CONCACAF Confederations Cup Playoff against the USA.
Ferretti’s squad is packed full of the usual names and experience, but whether they’ll be able to stop an Argentina outfit packed full of stars remains to be seen, with the concession of three goals in a 3-3 draw with Trinidad & Tobago at the weekend hardly offering cause for optimism.
Date: Wednesday, 9 September, 2015 / Tuesday, 8 September, 2015
Time: 3 a.m. GMT / 10 p.m. EDT
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TV Info: ESPN 2
Live Stream: ESPN 2
Won 1-0 vs. Uruguay (Copa America)
Won 1-0 vs. Jamaica (Copa America)
Drew 0-0 vs. Colombia, won on penalties (Copa America)
Won 6-1 vs. Paraguay (Copa America)
Drew 0-0 vs. Chile, lost on penalties (Copa America)
Won 7-0 vs. Bolivia (Friendly)
Drew 0-0 vs. Guatemala (Gold Cup)
Drew 4-4 vs. Trinidad & Tobago (Gold Cup)
Won 1-0 vs. Costa Rica (Gold Cup)
Won 2-1 vs. Panama (Gold Cup)
Won 3-1 vs. Jamaica (Gold Cup)
Drew 3-3 vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Gerardo Martino called up three uncapped players to his squad for both the clash with Bolivia and this game—the San Lorenzo defender Emmanuel Mas, River Plate midfielder Matias Kranevitter and 20-year-old forward Angel Correa, who recently made his debut for Atletico Madrid a year after signing due to a health concern.
Others, including the new Everton signing, Ramiro Funes Mori, have extremely limited international experience, and so the ex-Barcelona manager might use this game to get them up to speed ahead of the start of the gruelling World Cup qualification process next month, when Argentina host Ecuador.
Messi is certain to feature and captain the side after coming off the bench to score twice against Bolivia, while Javier Mascherano will win another cap and draw even closer to Javier Zanetti’s Argentina record of 145 appearances for his country. He’s a long way back on 117, having stayed on the bench for the entirety of the Bolivia win.
Ferretti went with experience for his squad, with three of the members having already passed a century of caps for Mexico—the evergreen Rafael Marquez, Francisco Javier Rodriguez and skipper Andres Guardado.
New Bayer Leverkusen forward Javier Hernandez is set for another appearance as he continues to hunt the goals that will make him Mexico’s all-time leading scorer, while at the other end of the scale 22-year-old forward Henry Martin is in the squad for the first time.
Hernandez, Guardado and Merquez will all likely return after staying on the bench for the draw with Trinidad & Tobago.
If the move back to Boca Juniors was supposed to help Carlos Tevez relax and enjoy his game a bit more, then these are the sort of matches in which he can show it.
Of course Messi is THE key player for Argentina in any match he plays, but if Tevez gets a chance to impress here, then he’ll be desperate to take it, with minds perhaps casting back to his two goals in the 2010 World Cup last-16 match against Mexico.
He appeared for the final 10 minutes of the Bolivia win as a replacement for Sergio Aguero, but he’ll be expecting to start here.
A product of the complicated Granada-Watford relationship, Miguel Layun looked as though he was going to be an important player for the Hornets in the Premier League when he helped them gain promotion while on loan last season, then signed permanently and then scored in his first division game in a 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park last month.
However, he was soon on the move again to join up with fellow Mexicans Hector Herrera and Jesus Manuel Corona at Porto, where the left-back will hope to display the consistency that has won his place in his national team.
He was left out at the weekend, but should return here.
Odds via Odds Checker