Mexico were thrashed 4-0 by an Argentina side missing several of their key players.
La Albiceleste were 4-0 up at half time in San Antonio, Texas as Lautaro Martinez scored a hat trick and Leandro Paredes scored a penalty kick.
El Tri had beat the USMNT convincingly in New Jersey last Friday but Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s men were humbled by an Argentine side which didn’t have Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero or Angel di Maria in the squad.
Despite the defeat, their first in 12 games since Tata took charge, Mexico’s coach seemed pretty happy with his players, as the likes of Raul Jimenez, Hirving Lozano and Edson Alvarez all started after being rested against the USMNT.
“I don’t think the game against Argentina shows our reality and I don’t think 11 games without losing was our reality,” Martino said. “This is the second ‘A game’ we’ve played. Argentina and Chile. The difference versus Argentina is that today we committed errors.”
Martino also confirmed that although he needs to spend more time with the players who didn’t feature at the Gold Cup this summer, his European-based players would not be called up for the CONCACAF Nations League games and friendly against Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda and Panama next month, plus the games against Panama and Bermuda in November.
That is good news for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Napoli, as their stars Jimenez and Lozano will now have to focus solely on club action until next March. Jimenez especially needs the break after leading Mexico to the Gold Cup this summer, then heading straight back to Wolves to take part in their UEFA Europa League qualifying campaign.
Overall it has been a very positive year for Mexico, with plenty of youngsters making their name under Martino in the Gold Cup and established stars stepping up in Europe.
There is now a clear playing identity under Tata but the same question remains after this heavy defeat to an understrength heavyweight: Are Mexico capable of getting past one of the big boys in the World Cup knockout stage?