Mexico fell to a 0-2 defeat by Argentina on Saturday at the Lusail Stadium, as goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez propelled the Albiceleste to all three points.
El Tri kicked off strong in the first half, shutting down Argentina in the final third before managing three shots and one on goal. But the second 45 saw a defeated Mexico side take the field, constantly overwhelmed by Argentina before Messi and Fernandez found the back of the net.
Kevin Alvarez, who made his World Cup debut during Saturday’s game, explained the defeat.
“We had been handling the first half very well, the start of the second but they had a player who is Messi and you realize that with a simple space he made the team completely change course,” Kevin Álvarez stressed.
“Perhaps in attack we lacked more options, I think that defensively we had been doing very well because they had no opportunity to score a goal, they simply had to open the scoring with a shot from a very long distance, but there was no more danger, players with the quality of Messi who looks, changes the whole game”
El Tri now sits in last place of the Group C standings, with just one point from the 0-0 draw against Poland. In order to qualify for the Round of 16, Mexico must defeat Saudi Arabia and hope for a desirable result in the match between Argentina and Poland.
Should Poland win, Mexico would go through with any victory over Saudi Arabia. If Argentina triumph, goal differential would come into play, forcing Mexico to score at least three goals on Wednesday. Though the path may be complicated, Uriel Antuna insists the team will continue fighting.
“We have to keep trusting until the last minute, we have very good players, we have shown that we have a goal, Mexico still has life and we are going to fight until the end all together and we are going to fight until the end and even more so in this match, which is a final.”
With one game left, players explain everything is on the line.
“[We need to] take advantage of the plays we have and seek to score goals,” said Mexico’s Roberto Alvarado. “Keep moving forward, raise your head up and train for this last game and leave everything on the field.”
Mexico concludes the group stage on Wednesday against Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium.