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Argentina possible starting lineup for game 2 of the group stage vs Mexico

Defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening Group C game was not part of the script as Scaloni’s side need to beat Mexico to keep their World Cup dream alive.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: Lionel Scaloni head coach of Argentina gives instructions to his players during the Argentina Training Session at Al Khor SC on November 25, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Khalil Bashar/Jam Media/Getty Images)
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With every respect to Japan for their heroics in beating four time winners Germany, it was Saudi Arabia’s dramatic win over Argentina that will make the chapters of the World Cup ‘upsets’ history book being cited alongside the likes of previous ‘Davids’ such as the USA in 1950, North Korea in 1966 or Cameroon in 1990.

Argentina fans still believe that they can progress and will see Messi sign off on his international career by lifting the trophy at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on 18 December. To facilitate this becoming a reality, the Albiceleste need to beat Mexico tonight back in Lusail.

Argentina fans
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Argentina fans Icon SportswireGetty

Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni sent out the same signal in his pre-match press conference

“We have no option but to lift ourself up and go forwards. We will calmly analyse their goals and we must work on the aspects that didn’t go well,” he said.

Scaloni may start by practising beating the offside trap: Messi and Lautaro Martinez put the ball in the back of the net four times between them against the Saudis in the first half, but only one counted, Messi’s penalty.

Argentina had seemingly found a world-class defence in recent times to match their scintillating strike force, but it was found wanting in a crazy 10-minute spell when the Saudis cantered past them to score twice and turn the match.

Scaloni must quickly reinstill the meanness and steel that had served Argentina so well on their remarkable unbeaten run since mid-2019. That lifted them to third in the global rankings and made them a firm favourite in Qatar.

We simply have to do this - for Messi now, for Maradona in heaven, for all of Argentina,” said Lionel Rodriguez, draped in a blue-and-white flag adorned with Messi’s face as he walked with friends on a street in the Qatari capital Doha.

“The Saudia Arabia game was an aberration. Let the world enjoy it for now. We are a great team, we will have the last laugh! Watch out Mexico, that’s all I’m saying.

Lionel Messi (C) looks on during the Argentina Training Session at Al Khor SC
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Lionel Messi (C) looks on during the Argentina Training Session at Al Khor SC Jam MediaGetty

Possible Argentina XI vs México:

Scaloni is expected to make a few changes from the eleven who started the game against Saudi Arabia but remain faithful with the striking trio of Lautaro, Di Maria and Messi.

Martínez; Montiel, Otamendi, Lisandro Martínez, Acuña; De Paul, G. Rodríguez, E. Fernández; Messi, Lautaro Martínez & Di María.