Mexico meet Argentina for feisty showpiece friendly
Two passionate sets of footballing fans will be in town, as Mexico and Argentina arrive in Texas, for a showdown on neutral turf that may be a dead-rubber, but is expected to be far from friendly.
El Tri, expected to have wide and raucous support in the USA border state, take on the team ranked number one in the world by FIFA. As the Aztecs have beaten Argentina on just four occasions from 27, they are 4/1 outsiders with Coral to take the spoils from this dust-up.
That is not to say Mexico, who have held their foes to 11 draws and are 5/2 to end evenly with the Argentines again, will not post a stern test. The situation does look stacked against El Tri, however, after cult hero and manager Miguel Herrera was given his marching orders, for an altercation with a journalist after the Aztec’s claimed the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Brazil-born boss Ricardo Ferretti is the coach charged with steadying the ship, though the interim tactician must contend with speculation of Marcelo Bielsa being lined-up for his post. The new temporary Mexico manager faces a huge challenge in just his second game holding the reins, having overseen a 3-3 draw with Trinidad and Tobago on his bow.
Mexican marksman Javier Hernandez, a recent recruit for Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen, produced the goods for his nation last time they lost to La Albiceleste, and is El Tri’s most likely attacker to notch.
Just six strikes off equalling the Aztecs’ all-time top scorer Jared Borgetti on 46, former Manchester United hitman Hernandez will be aiming to edge closer to a historic haul.
Fellow Europe-based forwards Raul Jimenez and Carlos Vela will be in support, though the underdogs will still be missing top stopper Guillermo Ochoa and defender Paul Aguilar.
Hoping to help shut out Lionel Messi and co will be PSV Eindhoven pair Andre Guardado and Hector Moreno, while Porto duo Miguel Layun and Hector Herrera should also be putting rearguard and midfield shifts in respectively.
As for Argentina, heavy odds-on favourites at 4/7 considering both history and their star-studded roster, Messi, who scored less than a minute into his last cameo, will of course be expected to be the main dangerman.
In fearsome form, La Albiceleste demolished South American rivals Bolivia 7-0 last time out, but will find more than cannon-fodder in Mexico. A repeat of the previous 3-1 scoreline when these two last tussled is a tempting 11/1 punt.
Carlos Tevez, now back at boyhood club Boca Juniors bagged a brace then, while sharpshooting peers Sergio Aguero and Ezequiel Lavezzi both sharpened their scoring boots against Bolivia, presenting the Argentines with bountiful options.
Betting tip: Back a repeat 3-1 result in Argentina’s favour @ 11/1