Mexico vs Argentina: Revisiting Their Epic World Cup Matchups

The World Cup brings together the best national teams in the world for a month of intense competition every four years. And few matchups in World Cup history can compare to the epic battles between the Mexican and Argentine national teams.

With a heated rivalry spanning nearly 50 years, Mexico and Argentina have faced off in some of the most memorable World Cup matches of all time. Their head-to-head record stands at 2 wins for Mexico, 4 wins for Argentina, and 2 draws.

In this in-depth review article, we’ll revisit the key matchups between these two icons of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. Relive the controversy, the unforgettable goals, the trashtalking, and more as we break down their seven World Cup encounters from start to finish.

An Outline of Mexico vs Argentina’s World Cup Matchups

Here’s a complete outline covering all aspects of the Mexico vs Argentina World Cup rivalry:


  • Brief history of the Mexico vs Argentina rivalry
  • Mexico’s 2 wins, Argentina’s 4 wins, and 2 draws in World Cup play
  • Overview of the key matchups we’ll revisit

1966 World Cup Group Stage: Argentina 2, Mexico 1

  • Context of the match
  • Key moments
  • Player highlights
  • Controversial refereeing decisions
  • Importance for Argentina’s World Cup run

2006 World Cup Round of 16: Argentina 2, Mexico 1 (after extra time)

  • Buildup to the match
  • Mexico’s early lead
  • Argentina’s equalizer
  • Maxi Rodriguez’s extra time winner
  • Reaction to the intense match

2010 World Cup Round of 16: Argentina 3, Mexico 1

  • Argentina as tournament favorites
  • Carlos Tevez opens scoring for Argentina
  • Controversial offsides goal allowed
  • Mexico’s rally falls short
  • Lionel Messi’s tournament impact

2014 World Cup Group Stage: Mexico 1, Argentina 0

  • Argentina’s strong start to the Cup
  • Guillermo Ochoa’s heroics in goal
  • Raul Jimenez’s second half winner
  • Messi neutralized
  • Context of the upset

2022 World Cup Group Stage: Argentina 2, Mexico 0

  • Mexico’s opening game loss to Poland
  • Lionel Messi’s magic opens scoring
  • Enzo Fernandez’s stunning goal seals it
  • Mexico on the brink of elimination

Looking Back at the Rivalry

  • How Argentina has dominated statistically
  • Mexico’s select monumental victories
  • Passion of Mexican fans against their heated rival

Key Factors in the Rivalry

  • Style clash between Argentina flair and Mexico grit
  • Argentina’s reliance on individual brilliance
  • Mexico’s defensive solidarity and quick counters

All-Time Leading Scorers

  • Messi leads for Argentina
  • Chicharito and Cuauhtémoc Blanco top Mexico’s charts

Most Impactful Matches Besides World Cup

  • U-20 World Cup finals, Olympics matchups
  • Friendlies, qualifiers, and tournaments

Top 5 Players from Each Country

  • Maradona, Messi lead Argentina
  • Hugo Sanchez, Chicharito star for Mexico

Greatest Goals in the Rivalry

  • Maxi Rodriguez’s volley, Messi’s solo run, Chicharito’s header
  • Magic from Maradona, Crespo, Sanchez, and more

Controversial Moments

  • Disallowed goals, refereeing errors
  • Harsh tackles, dirty play, words exchanged

Predictions for Future World Cup Matchups

  • Likely Round of 16 battles if seeding holds
  • Mexico seeking to break knockout round curse
  • Hopes of seeing Mexico finally beat Argentina

1966 World Cup Group Stage: Argentina 2, Mexico 1

The first ever World Cup meeting between Mexico and Argentina came in the 1966 group stage in England. Argentina were making their fifth appearance at the World Cup finals, while Mexico were debuting in the prestigious competition.

The match took place on July 13, 1966 at Wembley Stadium in London in front of 87,148 spectators. Expectations were high for both teams, though Argentina were favored having won the Pan American Championship the previous year with stars like Ermindo Onega, Oscar Más, and Antonio Rattín.

Mexico put up a strong fight in the first half, holding Argentina scoreless for the first 39 minutes before Onega finally found the breakthrough. The Argentines would add a second goal right after the restart via Más in the 47th minute to extend their lead.

Mexico pulled a goal back in the 65th minute courtesy of Isidoro Díaz to make it 2-1, but ultimately couldn’t find an equalizer. The match ended in victory for Argentina, placing them top of Group C.

The game was not without controversy, as Mexican players and coaches felt the referee favored Argentina. There were claims of rough play and unfair officiating, setting the tone for a heated rivalry that would stretch over the next five decades.

Nonetheless, Argentina would go on to finish second at the 1966 World Cup, advancing all the way to the quarterfinals. The match against Mexico gave them a vital 3 points which helped secure their qualification from the group phase.

2006 World Cup Round of 16: Argentina 2, Mexico 1 (after extra time)

Forty years after their first World Cup meeting, Mexico and Argentina faced off again in the Round of 16 at Germany 2006. This time, their matchup produced one of the most dramatic endings in World Cup history.

Argentina entered the 2006 tournament as strong contenders, featuring stars like Juan Román Riquelme, Hernán Crespo, Carlos Tevez, and tournament Golden Ball winner Juan Sebastián Verón. Mexico’s counterattacking style made them a dangerous underdog.

In a tense back and forth affair at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena on June 24, Mexico struck first blood. Veteran captain Rafael Márquez outjumped the Argentine defense in the 6th minute to head in a cross and give Mexico a dream start.

The Argentines fought back, with Hernán Crespo equalizing in the 10th minute after getting on the end of a perfect cross from Juan Pablo Sorín. The 1-1 deadlock held until the final minute of extra time.

That’s when Maxi Rodríguez wrote his name into World Cup history. Receiving a looping pass from Sorín deep in extra time, Rodríguez lashed a stunning left-footed volley into the corner from outside the box to win it for Argentina.

The Round of 16 victory propelled Argentina to the quarterfinals, where they lost on penalties to hosts Germany. But Maxi Rodríguez’s goal stands as one of the most iconic moments in Argentina’s long World Cup history. For Mexico, it was yet another case of Round of 16 heartbreak after being so close to a monumental upset.

2010 World Cup Round of 16: Argentina 3, Mexico 1

Argentina and Mexico met once again at the Round of 16 stage four years later at South Africa 2010. This time, Diego Maradona was managing the star-studded Argentines against Javier Aguirre’s Mexico.

The Mexicans came into the match full of confidence having won their group by beating France and Uruguay. Argentina topped their group as well, with superstar Lionel Messi emerging as the focal point of their attack.

On June 27 at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium, Argentina’s class showed early on. Carlos Tevez scored in the 26th minute thanks to a controversial offsides call, slotting home after Gonzalo Higuaín’s shot hit the post.

Mexico found an equalizer before halftime courtesy of veteran striker Javier Hernández, whose header made it 1-1. But the second half was all Argentina.

Tevez scored his second after Argentina played a series of one-touch passes to unlock Mexico’s defense in the 52nd minute. Messi added a brilliant third goal in the 33rd minute, running nearly half the length of the field and beating two defenders before finishing exquisitely.

The 3-1 result proved the gap in class between the nations, with Messi at the height of his powers. Mexico once again faltered at the Round of 16, extending their frustrating knockout round curse.

2014 World Cup Group Stage: Mexico 1, Argentina 0

Mexico and Argentina met in the group stage at Brazil 2014, with Mexico stunning the South Americans to pick up a invaluable 3 points.

Placed in Group F, Argentina were clear favorites having reached the final at the previous World Cup. With Lionel Messi supported by Sergio Agüero, Ángel di María, and Gonzalo Higuaín, pundits expected them to easily handle Mexico.

The June 12 match at Fortaleza’s Estadio Castelão, however, went in a shocking direction. Mexico’s defense put on a heroic performance, anchored by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Ochoa made an array of incredible reflex saves to deny Messi and company, quickly becoming a viral sensation. Mexico absorbed Argentina’s pressure while launching dangerous counters through Giovani dos Santos.

In the 61st minute, Mexico’s counter paid off. Dos Santos slipped a through ball to Oribe Peralta, who took a touch around defender Marcos Rojo before slotting in the winner.

The passionate Mexican fans in the stands couldn’t believe their eyes. Mexico had finally defeated Argentina at the World Cup, limiting Messi’s impact and earning a statement win.

While Argentina would still top the group, Mexico’s win boosted their knockout stage hopes. Their defense and Ochoa’s heroics neutralized Argentina’s fearsome attack, leading to one of the biggest Mexico World Cup wins ever.

2022 World Cup Group Stage: Argentina 2, Mexico 0

Argentina once again got the better of Mexico at the group stage of Qatar 2022, with superstar Lionel Messi the difference in a 2-0 victory.

After shockingly losing their World Cup opener to Saudi Arabia, Argentina desperately needed a win on November 26th to avoid the risk of a devastating early exit. Mexico also sought their first points after drawing Poland in their first match.

From the start, Argentina pressed and attacked relentlessly. Messi was at the heart of it all, pulling the strings to carve Mexico open again and again.

After constant pressure, Messi broke through in the 64th minute. After receiving the ball near the box, he unleashed a signature left footed strike from range that flew past Guillermo Ochoa into the corner.

Argentina continued dominating possession, until substitute Enzo Fernández scored one of the goals of the tournament in the 87th minute. With his first touch after coming on, the 21-year-old midfielder curled a picture perfect shot into the top corner that left Ochoa no chance.

The 2-0 victory reignited Argentina’s World Cup hopes after the shocking loss in their opener. Meanwhile, Mexico stood on the brink of elimination needing points against Saudi Arabia.

Messi’s brilliance once again proved the difference, with Argentina dominating Mexico thoroughly despite their early tournament woes. For Mexico, it was yet another case of ‘what could have been’ against their arch-rivals.

Looking Back at the Longstanding Rivalry

Ever since that first contentious meeting in 1966, the World Cup rivalry between Mexico and Argentina has produced some genuine classics. Whichever stage they’ve met at, fireworks have followed.

Looking at the overall head-to-head record, Argentina dominates. With 4 wins and 2 draws compared to just 2 victories for Mexico, Argentina has statistically had the edge.

Mexico’s two monumental wins came in 1965 and 2014, when staunch defending paired with lethal counters led to group stage upsets. But in the knockout rounds, Argentina’s quality has shown through with multiple dramatic late winners.

From Maradona to Messi, Argentina have fielded some of the greatest players of all time. Their attacking flair, crisp passing, and individual brilliance have overwhelmed Mexico when it counted most.

Yet Mexico’s passionate fans still come out in full force each time hoping to finally achieve victory when it matters most. The rivalry brings out the fiercest pride and energy from both sides. And with such evenly matched contests, controversy and intrigue are always bound to follow.

As long as they keep facing off on the World Cup stage, Mexico vs Argentina will continue being a can’t-miss rivalry.

Key Factors That Have Shaped the Mexico-Argentina Rivalry

Several factors have contributed to shaping the Mexico vs Argentina rivalry over the decades into one of the greatest at the World Cup:

Contrasting Styles

Mexico play with a pragmatic, defensive-minded approach compared to Argentina’s free-flowing attacking style. This clash of styles often produces epic drama.

Moments of Individual Brilliance

From Maradona to Messi, Argentina have won many of the big games through instances of individual genius.

Mexico’s Resilient Defending

When Mexico have earned results against Argentina, it’s been through disciplined defending and lethal counters.

Controversial Decisions

Contentious refereeing calls and late moments of magic have defined the rivalry, adding constant drama.

Pride and Passion

The heated rivalry brings out immense passion and national pride from players and supporters of both nations.

Their contrasting styles, reliance on big players, and several controversial moments have defined the rivalry. The competitiveness and controversy will likely continue when the nations clash at future World Cups.

All-Time Leading Scorers: Messi Leads From Argentina, ‘Chicharito’ Mexico’s Top Marksman

The Mexico vs Argentina rivalry has featured some all-time great footballers leaving their mark by finding the back of the net.

For Argentina, Lionel Messi unsurprisingly leads the way with 3 goals scored against Mexico at the World Cup. His brilliant solo goal in 2010 and long range blast in 2022 rank among the rivalry’s most iconic moments.

Behind Messi sits Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez with 2 World Cup goals each against Mexico. Legends like Maradona, Batistuta, and Crespo also feature with goals in this rivalry.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s leading scorer against Argentina is Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez with 2 career World Cup goals. His diving header in 2010 and constant threat on the counter-attack has punished Argentina.

Right behind Chicharito sits all-time Mexican great Cuauhtémoc Blanco with 1 World Cup goal against Argentina back in 2006. Rafael Marquez, Oribe Peralta, and Isidoro Diaz round out Mexico’s scorers.

While Argentina hold more depth of attacking talent, Mexico’s stars have stepped up on the biggest occasions. Chicharito and Cuauhtémoc Blanco exemplify Mexican soccer and have brought the fight to Argentina.

Beyond the World Cup: Other Impactful Mexico vs Argentina Matchups

The World Cup has hosted the most iconic meetings, but Mexico and Argentina have clashed in other key matches outside the main event.

At the 2004 Olympics, Argentina knocked out Mexico on their way to the gold medal in a tense semifinal. Four years prior at Sydney 2000, Mexico earned their own revenge by beating Argentina in the semis en route to gold.

In the prestigious U-20 World Cup, Mexico defeated Argentina in the 2011 final in Colombia in a tournament featuring the likes of Giovanni Dos Santos, Erik Lamela, and Sergio Araujo. Mexico also beat Argentina on penalties in the 2019 U-20 World Cup quarterfinals.

The nations have also met in intense friendlies over the years, like Argentina’s dominant 4-0 win at Giants Stadium in 2008.

World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL crossover has pitted them in crucial matches, along with tournaments like the Copa América and Confederations Cup.

Wherever they clash, a competitive match is guaranteed. But the World Cup remains the pinnacle for this iconic rivalry.

Mexico and Argentina’s All-Time Best XI

Having faced off for nearly 50 years on the World Cup stage, both Mexico and Argentina have fielded some genuine legends of the game. Here are the all-time best XI for each nation in the rivalry’s history:

Argentina Best XI

GK: Ubaldo Fillol

DEF: Pablo Zabaleta, Roberto Ayala, Daniel Passarella, José Luis Brown

MID: Javier Mascherano, Fernando Redondo, Diego Maradona (c), Pablo Aimar

FWD: Lionel Messi, Gabriel Batistuta

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Mexico Best XI

GK: Guillermo Ochoa

DEF: Rafael Marquez (c), Francisco Rodriguez, Aaron Galindo, Paul Aguilar

MID: Andres Guardado, Gerardo Torrado, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Efrain Juarez

FWD: Jared Borgetti, Javier Hernandez

While Argentina holds an edge in individual superstars, Mexico has assembled some formidable squads that performed admirably against their arch-rivals. These all-time lineups represent the best of both nations’ World Cup history.

Top 5 Unforgettable Goals from the Rivalry

The World Cup stage has hosted some truly special goals whenever Mexico and Argentina clash. Let’s revisit 5 of the most iconic:

5) Raul Jimenez – Mexico’s clinical counter-attack goal to beat Argentina in 2014. A world class team move.

4) Gonzalo Higuain – His instinctive strike off the post against Mexico in 2010 showcased his lethal finishing.

3) Lionel Messi – Messi’s stunning solo run and finish in 2010 lives long in the memory.

2) Maxi Rodriguez – Rodriguez’s sensational extra time volley for Argentina in 2006 is one of the World Cup’s most unforgettable goals.

1) Diego Maradona – Maradona’s otherworldly individual goal against England in 1986 remains the greatest World Cup goal ever.

From Maradona’s magic to Maxi’s volley, stunning strikes have defined the rivalry. Argentina has produced more solo brilliance, while Mexico’s best goals have come from excellent team moves.

Either way, with so many iconic goals, fans are guaranteed more magical moments when Mexico and Argentina clash in future.

Controversy and Heated

Controversy and Heated Moments That Have Defined the Rivalry

With such high stakes whenever Mexico and Argentina clash at the World Cup, controversy and heated exchanges are par for the course. Some key moments that have intensified the rivalry include:

  • Refereeing Decisions: Contentious calls have gone against both sides, from Antonio Rattin’s red card in 1966 to controversial allowed goals in 2006 and 2010. Mexico has felt especially hard done by certain refereeing decisions.
  • Harsh Tackling: Frustration has boiled over at times into dangerous tackles, like in 2006 when Rafael Marquez was lucky to avoid a red card for a studs-up challenge.
  • Trash Talking: Players from both sides have engaged in verbaland physical confrontations, adding heat to an already fiery rivalry.
  • FAN Conduct: Passionate Mexican fans have been accused of using homophobic chants against Argentine players during matches.
  • Last Gasp Drama: Late winning goals like Maxi Rodriguez’s volley have devastated Mexican hopes, amplifying the pain of defeat.
  • Geopolitical Tensions: Soccer has not been isolated from wider political tensions between the nations at times.

Whether referee decisions going against them or conceding crushing late goals, Mexico has suffered the most painful moments in the rivalry. The heated incidents between the sides add even more intensity to an already world-class matchup.

Predicting Future World Cup Battles Between the Rivals

Looking ahead, what could be in store when Mexico and Argentina clash in future World Cups? Here are some predictions:

  • Their seeding and qualification track record means they are likely to be drawn into the Round of 16 stage if both progress from the group phase. This would provide a highly anticipated knockout matchup.
  • Mexico will be desperately hoping to finally break through and achieve a historic victory in the Round of 16 over their arch-rivals after so many close calls.
  • With an aging Messi’s powers eventually waning, Mexico may sense a prime opportunity to defeat Argentina in a future World Cup matchup.
  • Expect more thrilling, late drama with little to separate the sides. The difference could come down to one magical moment.
  • Mexico’s best chance would be replicating a staunch defensive performance then striking clinically on the counter, as they found success doing in 2014.
  • For Argentina, the key will be neutralizing Mexico’s wingers and transition play while allowing their numerous stars to provide moments of brilliance.

Whenever they clash on soccer’s biggest stage, the world will be watching with bated breath. With such finely balanced contests, almost anything can happen when these great rivals meet again.

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