World Cup regulars Mexico face Argentina in their second group game on Saturday night.
Gerardo Martino is the only manager in the history of the Argentinian national team to have lost two finals while at the helm. The Santa Fe native has endured the same misfortune in charge of Mexico but on an even more compressed scale.
While a year separated Argentina‘s two Copa America final defeats to Chile, Martino’s Mexico lost the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup to the United States in the space of two months in the summer of 2021.
Here’s the lineup the unlucky Martino may deploy against the country of his birth.
GK: Guillermo Ochoa – After making a tournament-high 25 saves in 2018, Ochoa has begun the 2022 tournament with the first penalty save of the competition.
RB: Jorge Sanchez – Back in 2019, Sanchez revealed that he “couldn’t sleep for seven months” after receiving death threats following a high-profile error for CF America.
CB: Cesar Montes – The towering 6’3 centre-back is disarmingly known as “El Cachorro”, The Puppy.
CB: Hector Moreno – A broken leg in the round of 16 against the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup hampered a rumoured move to Barcelona. With his international retirement on the horizon, it’s unlikely Moreno will rock up at Camp Nou this summer.
LB: Jesus Gallardo – The spritely fullback hails from the Mexican city of Tabasco, where baseball is the dominant pastime.
CM: Luis Chavez – Martino was beaten to the phone by Chavez’s friends when he handed the midfielder his debut in April. “They told me I was a national player,” he remembered. “I didn’t know anything about it.”
CM: Edson Alvarez – How many people actually refer to the defensive midfielder as “Edsonbauer” is up for debate but the comparison to Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer stands.
RW: Hirving Lozano – The most expensive Mexican player in history hasn’t scored a competitive goal for El Tri since November 2021.
ST: Raul Jimenez – The last match Jimenez started was in front of 10,000 at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. Up against Lionel Messi’s Argentina at the World Cup serves as a contrasting setting.
LW: Alexis Vega – In a drab 0-0 against Poland, Vega came closer than most to breaking the deadlock, rattling off five shots – the same tally as the entire Polish contingent combined.
Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and Jack Gallagher to look back on France ’98 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!
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