Argentina Player Ratings vs Mexico: Messi Magic Makes Difference Again

Argentina eked out a precious 2-0 win over Mexico in the second round of the 2022 World Cup Group C to bolster their hopes of reaching the knockouts in Qatar. Who else but Lionel Messi to set the tone for the South American’s vital success at the Lusail Iconic Stadium?

It was a thoroughly abysmal World Cup start for one of the tournament favorites. Despite taking an early lead through standout performer Messi, Lionel Scaloni’s men found themselves on the receiving end of a 2-1 scoreline against Asian minnows Saudi Arabia, as their hopes of making it out of this group took a massive blow.

After being knocked down from a record-breaking 36-match unbeaten streak in international football, La Albiceleste had no margin for error against Gerardo Martino’s Mexico. But despite putting the Mexicans under pressure, the Argentines barely had any decent opportunity before halftime.

Following a goalless first half, Argentina needed someone to step up to the plate and give them an edge over Martino’s defensively well-positioned side. Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi took responsibility as he hammered home a long-range effort to break the deadlock before Benfica man Enzo Fernandez put the game beyond doubt with a sublime finish from inside the box.

Argentina (4-4-2)

Emiliano Martinez – 6

Though the Aston Villa goalkeeper’s services weren’t required for most of the game, he pulled off a spectacular save to deny Alexis Vega’s thunderous free-kick in the first half.

Gonzalo Montiel – 5

Despite being given an opportunity to start before Nahuel Molina, Montiel failed to impress. He cannot be accused of a lack of trying, yet none of his crosses managed to find any of his teammates.

Nicolas Otamendi – 6.5

Reliable as ever, the veteran center-back kept Argentina’s backline ticking over during Mexico’s pressure late in the game. His experience and strong tackling helped La Albiceleste neutralize their opposition.

Lisandro Martinez – 6.5

Following in the footsteps of his senior colleague, the Manchester United defender had an impressive game. In addition to performing well at the back, his precise passing and composure often helped Scaloni’s men retain possession.

Marcos Acuna – 7

Compared to Nicolas Tagliafico’s showing against Saudi Arabia, Acuna was a breath of fresh air on the left side as his tireless runs and decent crossing ability ensured depth.

Angel Di Maria – 7

The Juventus man may have had a troubling match against the Islamic Republic, but he returned to his usual best in Lusail, providing an assist to Messi while constantly keeping his markers busy.

Rodrigo De Paul – 5.5

Tenacious as ever, the former Udinese midfielder was everywhere in the engine room, though it’s fair to say he had a few sloppy touches where he could’ve done better.

Guido Rodriguez – 4.5

One of Scaloni’s tactical changes which failed to pay dividends as Rodriguez struggled to put his stamp on Argentina’s build-up plays before being replaced by Fernandez on the cusp of the hour mark.

Alexis Mac Allister – 5.5

It’s hard to say the Brighton & Hove Albion playmaker flopped tonight, but he could’ve certainly done much more in terms of helping Messi & Co find spaces behind the enemy lines.

Lautaro Martinez – 4.5

Not the best of Martinez’s performances for Argentina. The Inter Milan talisman found himself bullied by the physically dominant Mexico center-backs before handing his place to Julian Alvarez.

Lionel Messi – 7.5

Apart from scoring an absolute masterpiece from distance, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was an omnipresent figure in every attacking movement Argentina had to offer tonight.

Read our Player Ratings for Mexico


Julian Alvarez – N/A

Enzo Fernandez – 7

The sought-after Benfica midfielder just raised his stock for dozens of millions after beating Ochoa with one of the most spectacular goals in Qatar.

Nahuel Molina – 5.5

While the ex-Udinese right-back bettered Montiel’s performance, he wasn’t at his best.

Exequiel Palacios – N/A

Cristian Romero – NA