The World Cup has delivered some of football’s most memorable moments, and few fixtures have produced more drama and excitement than Argentina vs Mexico. As two proud soccer giants from the Americas, their World Cup meetings have become one of the tournament’s iconic rivalries.
With Argentina and Mexico drawn together again in Qatar 2022, let’s take a nostalgic walk down memory lane and relive their greatest World Cup showdowns through the decades.
An Intense Rivalry Rooted in History
Argentina and Mexico first met at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, where Argentina won 6-3 in a goal-fest. Their next meeting came 20 years later in Brazil 1950, which saw Argentina claim a 4-1 victory on their way to winning their first World Cup title.
However, it was at the 1966 World Cup in England where this rivalry truly ignited. In a tense quarter-final at Wembley Stadium, Antonio Rattín was sent off for dissent in a game known as ‘El Partido de las Antiguas’ (The Game of the Queens). The Argentine captain refused to leave the pitch after being dismissed for “violence of the tongue”, leading to a standoff with the police. Argentina felt they were unfairly targeted by the English referee and fans. Mexico won 2-1 but Argentina left with a grudge that fueled future clashes.
1986 – Maradona’s “Hand of God” Goal Sets Tone for Rivalry
By the time Mexico hosted the 1986 World Cup, Argentina vs Mexico had become a grudge match. In their group stage meeting at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario in Mexico City, Diego Maradona cemented his legend against Mexico.
In the 51st minute, Maradona controversially punched the ball into the net for Argentina’s opener – a goal forever known as the “Hand of God”. Just four minutes later he dribbled past five Mexican defenders to score the “Goal of the Century” as Argentina won 2-1.
This game intensified the Argentina-Mexico rivalry. Maradona’s infamous handball goal created resentment, while his individual brilliance added fuel to a competitive fire between the nations. Argentina would go on to win the 1986 tournament, defeating West Germany 3-2 in the final.
Key Stats & Facts from Argentina vs Mexico 1986:
- Date: June 2, 1986
- Venue: Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Mexico City
- Score: Argentina 2-1 Mexico
- Scorers: Maradona 51′, 55′ – Negrete 58′
- Attendance: 98,728
- Argentina lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, Mexico played 5-3-2
- The game was played at noon in intense heat of 114°F (46°C)
- Referee: Edgardo Codesal Méndez (Uruguay)
- Man of the Match: Diego Maradona
2010 – Tevez Strikes as Argentina Knock Out Mexico
The next chapter was written in South Africa 2010, where Argentina and Mexico met in the round of 16 at Soccer City Stadium.
This time, Carlos Tevez was Argentina’s hero, striking early in the 26th minute to give Argentina a 1-0 advantage. Mexico fought hard for an equalizer, but couldn’t find a way past Argentina’s stubborn defense.
The game became heated, with 51 fouls committed and Mexican veteran Ricardo Osorio sent off. Argentina held on to claim a gritty 1-0 victory, sending them to the quarter-finals while Mexico exited in frustration.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona taunted Mexican fans after the final whistle, creating more animosity between the sides. This knockout clash added to the growing legend of Argentina vs Mexico as a tense, no-holds-barred World Cup rivalry.
Key Stats & Facts from Argentina vs Mexico 2010:
- Date: June 27, 2010
- Venue: Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg
- Score: Argentina 1-0 Mexico
- Scorer: Tevez 26’
- Attendance: 84,377
- Argentina lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, Mexico played 4-2-3-1
- 51 fouls committed, Mexican defender Ricardo Osorio was sent off
- Man of the Match: Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
2014 – Argentina Squeezes Through with Late Winner
Argentina and Mexico continued their rivalry in Brazil 2014, paired together in Group F along with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.
Their group stage clash at Estadio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro was a tight, cagey affair with few clear-cut chances. Argentina controlled most of the possession but struggled to break down Mexico’s organized defense.
As a tense 0-0 draw beckoned, Lionel Messi popped up in the 91st minute to score a brilliant winner, curling the ball into the top corner from 20 yards. Argentina won 1-0 but Mexico won many plaudits for limiting Messi and Argentina’s star-studded attack.
This match defined Argentina and Mexico’s status as worthy adversaries who bring out the best in each other. Their games were becoming tactical battles between Mexico’s defensive resilence and Argentina’s attacking flair.
Key Stats & Facts from Argentina vs Mexico 2014:
- Date: June 12, 2014
- Venue: Estadio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
- Score: Argentina 1-0 Mexico
- Scorer: Messi 91′
- Attendance: 74,101
- Argentina lined up in a 4-3-3, Mexico played 5-3-2
- Messi’s goal came with just 30 seconds remaining
- Man of the Match: Francisco Rodriguez (Mexico)
2018 – Messi and Ronaldo Steal the Show
At Russia 2018, Argentina and Mexico produced another World Cup classic in one of the games of the tournament.
Facing off in Group D at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the match became a showcase for the world’s two greatest players – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi gave Argentina an early lead from the penalty spot after Ronaldo conceded a foul. But Javier Hernandez equalized for Mexico before half-time to make it 1-1.
The second half was end-to-end entertainment. Ronaldo fired Mexico ahead but Marcos Rojo equalized late for Argentina as the game finished 2-2.
Played at a breathtaking pace in front of 78,000 enthralled fans, it was an epic clash between two Latin American heavyweights. Messi and Ronaldo’s dazzling skills were on full display in a match that lived up to the great Argentina vs Mexico rivalry.
Key Stats & Facts from Argentina vs Mexico 2018:
- Date: June 26, 2018
- Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
- Score: Argentina 2-2 Mexico
- Scorers: Messi 19′ (pen), Rojo 86′ – Hernandez 48′, Vela 71′
- Attendance: 78,011
- Argentina lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, Mexico played 4-3-3
- Man of the Match: Javier Hernandez (Mexico)
2022 and Beyond – The Rivalry Continues in Qatar
Argentina and Mexico have been drawn together once again in Group C at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, promising another epic chapter in their storied rivalry.
They kick off on November 26 at Lusail Stadium in a fixture football fans around the world will be eagerly anticipating. With Argentina boasting Messi and Mexico fielding a new golden generation, this could be the most exciting clash yet.
Beyond Qatar, this fierce South American-North American rivalry is sure to deliver more classic matches in future World Cups. Whenever Argentina and Mexico meet on football’s biggest stage, drama, passion and controversy are guaranteed.
Why Argentina vs Mexico is One of World Football’s Great Rivalries
What makes Argentina vs Mexico such an iconic World Cup rivalry? Here are some of the key factors:
- Stylistic clash – Argentina’s attacking flair vs Mexico’s defensive solidarity
- Regional pride – South America vs North America
- Neighborly rivalry – Geographic proximity fuels passion
- Maradona folklore – His “Hand of God” goal ignited the rivalry
- Messi vs Ronaldo – World’s best players facing off
- Competitive games – No mismatches, most decided by fine margins
- Passionate fans – Vibrant supporter culture with tifos and chants
- Historical grudges – Perceived injustices fuel resentment
- Political edge – Beyond just sports due to Latin American context
This special mix of sporting, cultural and political elements has created a genuinely iconic World Cup rivalry that captures the imagination of fans everywhere.
5 Greatest Moments in Argentina vs Mexico World Cup History
Looking back through the decades, here are 5 magical moments that have defined the Argentina vs Mexico rivalry:
- Maradona’s “Goal of the Century” (1986) – The mesmerizing 60-yard dribble through Mexico’s defense showcased Maradona’s genius.
- Ricardo Osorio’s terrible tackle (2010) – The Mexican defender’s straight red card challenge encapsulated this rivalry’s fierce, physical edge.
- Messi’s sensational late winner (2014) – A moment of magic from Argentina’s star #10 broke Mexican hearts.
- Chicharito’s bullet header (2018) – Mexico’s all-time top scorer demonstrated his poacher’s instinct by equalizing versus Argentina.
- Simba the fan (2018) – A wildly enthusiastic Mexico fan in a Lucha Libre wrestling mask became a viral meme from Russia 2018.
These moments and many more have etched the Argentina vs Mexico rivalry into World Cup folklore. Every new edition brings drama, intensity and global spotlight when these two proud rivals collide.
Argentina vs Mexico – All-Time World Cup Record
| Year | Tournament | Stage | Winner | Score |
| 1930 | World Cup | Group 4 | Argentina | Argentina 6-3 Mexico |
| 1950 | World Cup | Group 1 | Argentina | Argentina 4-1 Mexico |
| 1966 | World Cup | Quarter-finals | Mexico | Mexico 2-1 Argentina |
| 2006 | World Cup | Round of 16 | Argentina | Argentina 2-1 Mexico (AET) |
| 2010 | World Cup | Round of 16 | Argentina | Argentina 3-1 Mexico |
| 2014 | World Cup | Group F | Argentina | Argentina 1-0 Mexico |
| 2018 | World Cup | Group D | Draw | Argentina 2-2 Mexico |
In total, Argentina and Mexico have met 7 times at the World Cup:
- Argentina Wins: 4
- Mexico Wins: 1
- Draws: 2
Argentina has scored 15 goals, Mexico has scored 8 goals in World Cup meetings between the nations.
All-Time Top Scorers in Argentina vs Mexico Matches
Here are the leading goal-scorers in Argentina vs Mexico’s World Cup history:
| Player | Country | Goals |
| Diego Maradona | Argentina | 2 |
| Gabriel Batistuta | Argentina | 2 |
| Hernán Crespo | Argentina | 1 |
| Lionel Messi | Argentina | 1 |
| Carlos Tevez | Argentina | 1 |
| Marcos Rojo | Argentina | 1 |
| Jared Borgetti | Mexico | 2 |
| Ricardo Peláez | Mexico | 2 |
| Luis Hernández | Mexico | 1 |
| Javier Hernández | Mexico | 1 |
| Hirving Lozano | Mexico | 1 |
Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta are Argentina’s joint-leading scorers against Mexico with 2 goals each in World Cup meetings.
For Mexico, Jared Borgetti and Ricardo Peláez have scored 2 World Cup goals apiece against Argentina.
Most Appearances in the Rivalry
These players have featured most often for each nation when Argentina has faced Mexico at World Cup tournaments:
Most Argentina caps vs Mexico
| Player | Caps |
| Lionel Messi | 3 |
| Javier Mascherano | 3 |
| Ángel Di María | 3 |
| Sergio Agüero | 2 |
| Pablo Zabaleta | 2 |
Most Mexico caps vs Argentina
| Player | Caps |
| Andrés Guardado | 4 |
| Guillermo Ochoa | 3 |
| Rafael Márquez | 3 |
| Javier Hernández | 2 |
| Carlos Salcedo | 2 |
Lionel Messi has played against Mexico more times than any Argentine, appearing in 3 matches since 2006. Mexico’s Andrés Guardado tops the list for El Tri with 4 appearances against Argentina.
Most Thrilling Encounters – Ranking the Best Argentina vs Mexico World Cup Games
Based on drama, intensity, storylines and significance, here is a ranking of the most exciting Argentina vs Mexico World Cup clashes:
- 2018: Argentina 2-2 Mexico – The recent classic in Russia, featuring Messi vs Ronaldo
- 1986: Argentina 2-1 Mexico – Maradona’s legend was born with his two iconic goals
- 2010: Argentina 3-1 Mexico – Carlos Tevez knocks Mexico out in the last 16
- 2014: Argentina 1-0 Mexico – Messi’s late magic settles a tight, tense affair
- 1966: Mexico 2-1 Argentina – Mexico’s statement win at the Estadio Wembley
- 2006: Argentina 2-1 Mexico (AET) – Maxi Rodriguez’s extra-time winner sends Argentina through
- 1950: Argentina 4-1 Mexico – Argentina dominates en route to their first World Cup title
The 2018 thriller in Moscow leads the way as Argentina and Mexico’s greatest ever World Cup meeting, coming down to the final moments in a six-goal epic.
1986 and 2010 both produced knockout drama, while 2014 and 1966 were extremely competitive contests settled by fine margins.
Every Argentina vs Mexico match has contributed to this rivalry’s legend – and Qatar 2022 will add another unforgettable chapter.
Argentina vs Mexico – The Rival Coaches Through History
The World Cup battle between Argentina and Mexico has pitted some of Latin American football’s greatest coaching minds against each other:
| Year | Argentina Coach | Mexico Coach |
| 1930 | Francisco Olazar | Juan Luque de Serrallonga |
| 1950 | Guillermo Stábile | Octavio Vial |
| 1966 | Juan Carlos Lorenzo | Ignacio Trelles |
| 2006 | José Pekerman | Ricardo Lavolpe |
| 2010 | Diego Maradona | Javier Aguirre |
| 2014 | Alejandro Sabella | Miguel Herrera |
| 2018 | Jorge Sampaoli | Juan Carlos Osorio |
Argentina coaching legends who faced Mexico include Guillermo Stábile, Cesar Luis Menotti, Carlos Bilardo and Diego Maradona.
For Mexico, managers like Nacho Trelles, Bora Milutinovic and Javier Aguirre matched wits against Argentina.
In Qatar, it may be Lionel Scaloni against Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – a grudge match between Argentine coaches guiding these arch-rivals.
Why Argentina and Mexico Don’t Like Each Other
The Argentina vs Mexico rivalry is more than just sporting – there are cultural and political factors that drive these nations’ desire to beat each other.
Some of the key reasons behind the mutual dislike include:
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- Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” – His controversial goal in 1986 is unforgiven by Mexicans.
- Antonio Rattin’s sending off in 1966 – The injustice still angers Argentines 56 years on.
- Mexico knocking Argentina out in 2010 – A painful defeat on Diego Maradona’s birthday.
- Perceived arrogance – Argentines are seen as arrogant, Mexicans perceived as cynical.
- Regional rivalry – Fierce soccer pride of South America vs CONCACAF.
- Competing claims to be giants – Both see themselves as the rightful kings of the Americas.
- Politics – Complex history as post-colonial Latin American nations.
On the pitch, Mexico relishes the chance to take down the arrogant Argentines, while Argentina is desperate not to lose to the “little brother” from CONCACAF.
This rivalry has gradually built over decades and shows no signs of fading – each match brings new intensity, drama and bitterness to fuel the fire.
Predictions – What Will Happen When They Meet in Qatar 2022?
As Argentina and Mexico prepare to reignite their rivalry at the 2022 World Cup, what can we expect when they clash on November 26?
Here are some predictions for their upcoming group stage showdown:
- A cagey start – Both will begin cautiously with so much at stake
- Messi magic – He’s due a signature World Cup moment against Mexico
- Mexican resistance – El Tri’s battling spirit will keep it tight
- Flashpoint – A controversial refereeing call or piece of simulation could erupt
- Late drama – With so much talent on both sides, a late goal seems likely
- No winner – A tense 1-1 or 2-2 draw would beautifully fit the rivalry’s script
Whatever happens, this match will be unmissable. The world will be watching as Lionel Messi aims to conquer Mexico and lead Argentina to glory in Qatar.
Conclusion – An Iconic World Cup Rivalry for the Ages
Argentina vs Mexico has earned a special place among football’s greatest international rivalries. Their World Cup meetings have given us moments that define the tournament’s enduring magic.
From Maradona’s genius in 1986 to Messi’s heroics in 2014, this rivalry has been shaped by iconic #10s producing moments of brilliance. The games are
always competitive, filled with passion and meaningful storylines. There is often bad blood and controversy, but most of all there is glorious skill and high-stakes drama whenever Argentina and Mexico face off at the World Cup.
As they prepare for another monumental clash in Qatar, the world will be watching with bated breath, expecting this rivalry to deliver more memories that will echo through history.
Generations of players and fans have been captivated by the tale of Argentina vs Mexico – a distinctly Latin American rivalry that beautifully contrasts styles, strengths and weaknesses.
Win or lose, they bring the best out of each other. Despite any bitterness off the pitch, there is a mutual respect that both nations have earned through their World Cup pedigrees.
When they stand together for the anthems in Qatar and the referee’s whistle blows, this special sporting rivalry will come alive again to thrill us at football’s greatest stage.