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How Argentina could line up against Mexico

How Argentina could line up against Mexico

Aiming to bounce straight back from a humbling defeat in their World Cup opener, Argentina meet Group C rivals Mexico on Saturday, and could make a handful of changes to their starting XI.

Following the Albiceleste’s loss to Saudi Arabia, irreplaceable playmaker Lionel Messi trained separately from the rest of the squad, but the 35-year-old superstar is expected to start again this weekend – much to the relief of his coach, Lionel Scaloni.

Argentina’s captain is protecting a leg injury which has hampered him of late, but possible deputies Paulo Dybala and Papu Gomez will be stood down. Indeed, the latter may even be dropped, as Alexis Mac Allister pushes for a start instead.

Messi should therefore feature in a front three along with Italy-based forwards Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria, while Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez and Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa are once more consigned to the bench.

Having appeared as a substitute in midweek, Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez is expected to come in for either Cristian Romero or Nicolas Otamendi at the heart of Argentina’s back four, on the right of which Gonzalo Montiel may replace Nahuel Molina.

In midfield, Enzo Fernandez – a breakthrough star at Benfica this season – will hope to supplant Leandro Paredes after making a half-hour cameo in the Juventus man’s place on Tuesday, but is more likely to start among the substitutes.

Despite being beaten twice last time out, only Colombia’s David Ospina kept more clean sheets than Emiliano Martinez‘s tally of six during a gruelling CONMEBOL qualifying process, and the Aston Villa goalkeeper is a certain selection for Scaloni as Argentina’s last line of defence.

Argentina possible starting lineup: E. Martinez; Montiel, Romero, Li. Martinez, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Mac Allister; Messi, La. Martinez, Di Maria

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