Argentina picked up an all-important 2-0 win over Mexico and have re-ignited their World Cup hopes with those three points.
In a largely unimpressive performance by Argentina overall, Lionel Messi unlocked the Mexican defence by a brilliant long-range strike and it was followed by Enzo Fernandez’s beautiful curling effort.
Fernandez announces himself to a global world
Fernandez has been excellent for Benfica since he joined from River Plate, but his goal today will go a long way in establishing his global reputation as a footballer. Many probably watched that goal across the globe and a lot of them were watching in the hope of an Argentina win/loss or tuned in after Messi’s exceptional goal. But Enzo stole the show with that goal at the perfect time and the perfect moment and it is something which could well go on to define his career. And whatever he goes on to achieve in the future – it is likely it will be very positive, this goal will be replayed again and again whenever Enzo Fernandez will be talked about. No one can take that away from him.
De Paul and Rodriguez can’t function together
The game should probably be a lesson for the fact that Lionel Scaloni should not play Guido Rodriguez and Rodrigo de Paul together. Using them created gaps in midfield, unless Messi dropped deeper to help control possession but it took the PSG man away from the advanced areas. Rodriguez would often step in as a centre-back during build-up with De Paul just in front of him but he isn’t a tempo dictator by any means.
Enzo Fernandez’s introduction made things easier to control play and the Benfica man should play regularly.
Argentina miss Nico Gonzalez
Like the Saudi Arabia defeat, the game showed that Argentina don’t have enough runners in the team and have too many players who want the ball at their feet. They have too many players who cut inside but no one who stretched the pitch or exploit a higher line. Nico Gonzalez would have provided that, if not for his injury. The Fiorentina man stretches play, allowing spaces for midfielders inside, pushing higher lines back and beating defenders out wide.
That is one profile Argentina lack and it can cost them the World Cup.