BBC Sport world-cup-2010


Argentina 3-1 Mexico

By Chris Bevan
  1. 18:05 Commentary  

    So where do you start picking up the pieces of England's World Cup campaign after that disastrous defeat? Right here as it happens. I'm going to be taking you through all the fall-out from Germany's 4-1 win and the end of a dismal campaign in South Africa for Fabio Capello's men, plus bringing you all the build-up to Argentina v Mexico, which will hopefully cheer everybody up a bit.

  2. 18:07 Commentary  

    Here's some news that a few of you will probably be interested in. Fabio Capello will not resign as England coach but will be seeking a meeting with the FA about his future. Thoughts?

  3. 18:12 Commentary  

    Mind you, you would have to be very harsh to lay all the blame for that defeat, and poor showing at this tournament, wholly at the door of the coach - too many big-name England players failed to perform in South Africa at the level we know they can, and only part of the reason can be down to the system they are being asked to play in. Any ideas why?

  4. SMS  

    From Lee in London: "A total disgrace! No ideas! No passion! No commitment! Send them all home in economy class!!"

  5. 18:22 Commentary  

    Lots of chat from Frank Lampard and Fabio Capello about goal-line technology, which isn't a surprise given the terrible decision that meant Lampard's 'equaliser' was not given. They both claim it changed the game. Now, Germany's third and fourth goals were both on the break as England chased the game but they could have been four or five goals up by then anyway - so it doesn't really wash with me.

  6. SMS  

    From Jamie in Essex: "Capello can't take all the blame for a poor tournament. Too many players underperformed but I agree the system wasn't great - Gerrard was ineffective stuck out on the left."

  7. SMS  

    From anon: "The disallowed goal cannot be an excuse for a 4-1 defeat and two dismal draws in the group stages."

  8. SMS  

    Whitehot Hotspur: "Doesn't matter what coach you employ or systems. Until we coach our young players (at age 9, 10, 11, 12+) about technique and the importance of keeping the ball, England will never win an international competition so we can all be sad and down today but the culture of our game has to change!"

  9. 18:36 Commentary  

    Germany manager Joachim Loew has said his team's ability to hit England on the counterattack was the reason why they won so convincingly. "We knew we could hit England on the counter-attack because they were open. Our players carried it off brilliantly," said the 50-year-old.  It's hard to argue with that assessment. 

  10. Commentary Mexico v Argentina line-ups  

    Argentina: 22-Sergio Romero; 15-Nicolas Otamendi, 2-Martin Demichelis, 4-Nicolas Burdisso, 6-Gabriel Heinze, 14-Javier Mascherano, 20-Maxi Rodriguez, 7-Angel Di Maria, 10-Lionel Messi, 11-Carlos Tevez, 9-Gonzalo Higuain.
    Mexico: 1-Oscar Perez; 16-Efrain Juarez, 2-Francisco Rodriguez, 4-Rafael Marquez, 3-Carlos Salcido, 5-Ricardo Osorio, 18-Andres Guardado, 6-Gerardo Torrado, 21-Adolfo Bautista, 17-Giovani Dos Santos, 14-Javier Hernandez
    Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)

  11. 18:46 Commentary  

    The winner of this game between Argentina and Mexico will play Germany in Cape Town next. Diego Maradona's men are the heavy favourites to progress, but since when did that mean anything?

  12. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg  

    "Argentina boss Diego Maradona was leading the singing as their coach arrived at the ground. He was positively belting out a number. Fabio Capello he is most definitely not."

  13. SMS  

    From Matt in Rugby: "Who's joining me at the airport with the rotten fruit?"

  14. 18:53 Commentary  

    Fabio Capello does not seem to be able to see beyond Frank Lampard's 'goal that wasn't' for the reasons behind England's defeat, although he admits they might have been a bit tired. "Look, we probably arrived a little bit tired at the end of the season, and after the game that they played against Slovenia we suffered from Germany's speed today," Capello said. "But I say again, I am sure that a big mistake from the referee stopped us from going forward."

  15. Commentary Mexico v Argentina team news  

    Argentina manager Diego Maradona recalls Angel di Maria along with captain Javier Mascherano, who was rested for the 2-0 victory over Greece. Nicolas Burdisso continues to deputise for the injured Walter Samuel at centre-back, while full-back Gabriel Heinze slots back into defence. Up front sees the return of the tournament's joint-top scorer Gonzalo Higuain alongside Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez.

    Mexico manager Javier Aguirre brings new Manchester United striker Javi Hernandez, who started on the bench in the 1-0 defeat by Uruguay, into his starting line-up. Veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco is the man making way.

  16. Commentary Mexico coach Javier Aguirre  

    "We have been given up as dead and buried. We've been working to change the course of history. Nobody is betting their bottom dollar on us, nobody believes in our future, but we will see."

  17. Commentary Argentina manager Diego Maradona on why his country's press need to apologise to him  

    "What makes me mad is when they lack respect for the players, and when they don't know how to apologise when it's necessary to. People said we were a disaster, the worst team they'd ever seen. Now they're saying we're an excellent team. We have the same players so you shouldn't believe everything you hear."

  18. 19:02 Commentary  

    There's been a great debate on BBC Radio 5 live going on over the past few minutes, with ex-England boss Graham Taylor and former England winger Chris Waddle talking about what is wrong with English football from top to bottom. They have just been talking about developing young players, and how they are still made to play 11-a-side football on full-size pitches at too young an age. Hear-hear on that - and I cannot believe it is still happening.

  19. 19:07 Commentary  

    Watching Argentina, and Lionel Messi in particular, will show England exactly what they are missing out on now they are out of this tournament. Probably not a good idea to think about what the Barcelona star would have done to Fabio Capello's defence on the evidence of today though. Mind you, Diego Maradona's men are not exactly water-tight at the back either, so I've got a feeling we could see another very open game tonight.

  20. 19:09 Commentary  

    Need some good news? How about if I tell you that you can watch Argentina v Mexico live on BBC One and right here on this website (in the UK only). OK, I understand some of you need more than that, but it's a start, right?

  21. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "I'm really hopeful about this game because Argentina and Mexico are both great with the ball and probably not as good without it. And, with Lionel Messi in town, there should be entertainment."

  22. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg  

    "This is the point at which Mexico have bowed out of the last four World Cup tournaments. However, they have been bullish in the build-up to this match, talking about a thorn that remains stuck in their side following the defeat to Argentina in Germany. They are definitely after revenge."

  23. SMS  

    From Chris in Frome: "No words can explain how millions of us feel right now. But please FA give us an English manager. David Beckham showed more passion and commitment than manager or players!!"

  24. SMS  

    From Roger: "How many more times? England lack the basics for this level! Speed, movement, improvisation, anticipation, vision - why? - because the Premier League want to win now and buy power for today from anywhere not develope young British talent - and we love it - club before country!"

  25. 19:22 Commentary  

    OK, the latest on England is that Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have both said they want Fabio Capello to stay on as coach. Enough of that for now, though, because it is certainly not going to go away. I'm going to concentrate on Argentina v Mexico for most of the next 90 minutes instead - Diego Maradona is just putting his jacket on and the players are in the tunnel, so it would be rude to ignore them, wouldn't it?

  26. 19:25 Commentary  

    We are currently hearing the anthems, which is a good sign - it means kick-off is a mere moments away. A chance to put this afternoon behind us, hopefully - for a little while anyway.

  27. 606  

    From DeleriumDon6345: "Dont forget how very average Argentina were in their qualifying. Mexico is their first sizable test. this isn't straight forward, although I still expect a win for Maradona's boys."

  28. 19:30 KICK-OFF Mexico v Argentina  

    Mexico get us under way. This could be very lively indeed.

  29. 3 mins Commentary  

    Argentina look slightly unfamiliar tonight in their usual striped shirts but with navy blue shorts instead of white. They haven't really got hold of the ball in the first couple of minutes, and neither have Mexico.

  30. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "The pitch is quite quick, so a lot of the play has to be played into feet, sliding passes in at angles rather than straight lines."

  31. 7 mins Commentary  

    Still slightly scrappy so far. Argentina had the best of the early possession, but Mexico are coming forward for the first time. Nothing doing so far, though, and we are going to have a delay while some Argentine streamers are cleared from the Mexican area. Not quite ticker-tape, admittedly, but what do the Argentina fans think this is? 1978?

  32. 7 mins Commentary  

    Lionel Messi gets the ball for the first time, after being fed by Carlos Tevez. Messi makes his way towards the edge of the area and lets fly, but his shot cannons off Efrain Juarez and flies clear.

  33. 10 mins Commentary  

    Wow. Mexico come to life too - and are almost ahead (twice!). First a superb long-range effort by Carlos Salcido almost catches out Sergio Romero, who is just about able to tip the ball on to his bar. The Mexicans come forward again seconds later and Giovani Dos Santos tees up Andres Guardado, who fires in a rasping shot from the edge of the area that swerves a couple of feet wide.

  34. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "It is a windy night here in Johannesburg, I don't know whether that ball swerved in the air after Carlos Salcido let fly but it rocked the bar."

  35. 12 mins Commentary  

    Lionel Messi has the ball again, and is running towards goal. He tries a cheeky chip, and the ball is dropping towards the crossbar but Oscar Perez is on his line in any case, and does not take any chances by plucking it out of the air.

  36. 606  

    From hawick: "Fast start from Mexico - this could be a classic!"

  37. 15 mins Commentary  

    Mexico come forward again - they seem to have decided that attack is the best form of defence against the Argentines. Giovani Dos Santos slips the ball to Javier Hernandez, but he still has work to do on the edge of the area and eventually slams a hopeful shot wide.

  38. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Messi's control is incredible. It's such a skilful thing to chip a ball running away from you at pace."

  39. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg  

    "An open and exciting encounter so far in which both teams look a lot more comfortable when going forward. Mexico have opted not to man-mark Messi, who is finding space from deep positions."

  40. 22 mins Commentary  

    Argentina's turn to probe the Mexico defence but, despite a decent spell of possession, they can make no inroads into the Mexico defence. Lionel Messi is getting space when he goes deep but as soon as he collects the ball he is quickly closed down. Diego Maradona's men are going to have to be patient here.

  41. 25 mins Commentary  

    Mexico play keep-ball for a while too - again, largely in their own half. When they do get the ball forward, Francisco Rodriguez intercepts and Lionel Messi is fouled as he challenges for the loose ball. It's all got a bit cagey again.

  42. 25 mins GOAL Mexico 0-1 Argentina  

    Controversy here, and lots of it. Lionel Messi slides Carlos Tevez clear but Mexico keeper Oscar Perez comes out to get their first.... The ball comes back to Lionel Messi, who chips it goalwards but Tevez, who is miles offside, heads it in. Mexico protest as the goal is initially given but the referee confers with his assistant as the incident is replayed on the huge screens at Soccer City Stadium and they both see that they have got it wrong. They cannot change their minds, though - and the goal stands. Are you watching Sepp Blatter?

  43. 27 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Straight from the restart, Mexico's Rafael Marquez becomes the first man into referee Roberto Rosetti's book after catching Lionel Messi.

  44. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg  

    "Not been a great day for officials, specifically linesmen. Tevez was way offside but the goal stands. However, the protests from the Mexicans, followed by several Argentina players joining the fray, caused huge confusion here. For a good few seconds I reckon a lot of people thought the goal would be disallowed."

  45. 33 mins GOAL Mexico 0-2 Argentina  

    Ricardo Osorio has had a complete nightmare here. For some reason he plays a loose ball across defence without looking, and promptly plays in Gonzalo Higuain, who cannot believe his luck and cleverly rounds Oscar Perez before slotting home. Mexico's bright start counts for nothing now.

  46. 38 mins Commentary  

    It could be three or four for Argentina. Mexico just cannot keep the ball and a clever backheel has just given Angel Di Maria a shooting chance, with Oscar Perez doing well to push away his drilled shot that was heading towards the far corner.

  47. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "I think Ricardo Osorio slipped, he didn''t intend to make such a poor pass. It's an awful mistake but the goal was very coolly taken by Higuain, he took the ball around the goalkeeper so easily, sideways on, and drifted the ball into the net."

  48. 40 mins Commentary  

    Mexico's Andres Guardado tries his luck from a free-kick out on the right, but gets it horribly wrong and whips the ball high over the bar. They need a goal before half-time, really, but they have some defending to do first.

  49. 44 mins Commentary  

    Gonzalo Higuain should really have made it safe for Argentina. He rises to meet a cross from the right and is completely unmarked in front of goal but his header skids wide. That would have been game over, surely. As it is, Mexico still have (slim) hope. They are still trying their luck from distance and Rafael Marquez has just fired straight at Sergio Romero from a good 30 yards out. 

  50. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg  

    "Got to feel sorry for Mexico, who were unfortunate to concede the opener in the way that they did. However, they have dropped off since then and badly need to regroup at the break."

  51. 45 mins Commentary  

    Mexico almost pull one back. Carlos Salcido bends in a superb cross from out on the left and it is only just too strong for Javier Hernandez, who misses the ball by a whisker as he lunges for it. Instead, Sergio Romero collects comfortably.

  52. HALF-TIME Mexico 0-2 Argentina  

    It's all getting a bit hairy as the teams go off at the break. The Mexicans are rightly aggrieved at the way they fell behind, and referee Roberto Rosetti has a lot of work to do to calm everybody down. Luckily he has Diego Maradona around to help him.

  53. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "Before today I was not an advocate of technology in football, but now I am a convert."

  54. 20:24 Commentary  

    So, Argentina have one foot in the quarter-finals of the World Cup after two bad mistakes at Soccer City Stadium. The first was by Italian linesman Stefano Ayroldi, who somehow allowed Carlos Tevez's goal to stand before a ridiculous situation developed where he, referee Roberto Rosetti and everyone in the stadium watched replays on the huge screens show exactly how far offside Tevez was. Then Ricardo Osorio gifts Gonzalo Higuain a second goal, with his mistake letting the striker in to make it 2-0.

  55. SMS  

    From Coxy50: "So we can use technology to wind up the players and the crowd but not to make the correct decisions??!!"

  56. 606  

    From Tyrepo: "Mexico needs to calm down and play the way they played at the beginning of the match. Another game ruined by the officials."

  57. 20:34 SUBSTITUTION  

    Argentina get the second-half started. Mexico have made a change during the break: Adolfo Bautista is off, and Pablo Barrera is on.

  58. 47 mins Commentary  

    Mexico have an early corner, which Gerardo Torrado bends in. It is cleared as far as Carlos Salcido, he of the sweet left foot. Salcido does not get hold of his shot this time, however, and he scuffs it well wide of Sergio Romero's post.

  59. 51 mins Commentary  

    It's still all Mexico, possession-wise anyhow. They are hardly piling on the pressure though and Argentina so far are clearing their lines with relative ease whenever the men in green advance towards the edge of their area. When substitute Pablo Barrera does have time to think about a cross, he gets far too much on it and the ball flies out. Chance gone.

  60. 52 mins GOAL Mexico 0-3 Argentina  

    Wow. Pick that one out! The ball breaks for Carlos Tevez on the edge of the box after his attempted pass is blocked, and he lets fly with an absolutely unstoppable strike into the top corner. Diego Maradona gives the Manchester City a massive bear-hug as the Argentina team celebrate - and it is looking increasingly like they will face Germany in the quarter-final.

  61. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "What a marvellous shot, a quick turn and Tevez put everything into the shot and it absolutely flew past goalkeeper Perez. He would have had no chance whether he was 5 foot 8 inches or 6 foot 8 inches. What technique, both feet over the ground, knee over the ball, it reminds me of Bobby Charlton in 1966, a goal which I think was against Mexico all those years ago."

  62. 58 mins Commentary  

    It goes without saying that Mexico are in real trouble now. They are not helping their cause with some sloppy play at the back, with Francisco Rodriguez the latest man to give the ball away. Carlos Tevez homes in on goal but, luckily for Rodriguez, he has team-mates on hand to mop up.

  63. 606  

    From The Dude: "TEVEZZZZZ!!!!! Rooney, thats how it's done, look and learn."

  64. 60 mins Commentary  

    Better by Mexico, with substitute Pablo Barerra skipping past a couple of challenges after cutting in from the left. But he goes for goal instead of pulling the ball back and can only find the side-netting.

  65. 64 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Mexico are putting on another striker, with former West Ham frontman Guillermo Franco replacing Andres Guardado. They are still having a go at this, with Carlos Salcido bringing a sprawling save from Sergio Romero with a shot from distance and, from the resulting corner, Javier Hernandez heading Pablo Barrera's cross over the bar when he should really find the target.

  66. 66 mins Commentary  

    More Mexico pressure. Another goal might make things interesting, but only if they score it. Is it me, or has Lionel Messi been a bit quiet in this half so far. Still, expect that to change sooner rather than later.

  67. 606  

    From BlueAcrosstheWorld: "Well in the end, Mexico problems have caught up with them. Poor finishing up front from the chances they created will not get you back in this game."

    And that linesman's decision didn't help them much either to be honest!

  68. 70 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Fair to say Carlos Tevez doesn't look too happy at being replaced by Juan Sebastian Veron, understandable seeing as he is on a hat-trick. Still, Argentina need to tighten things up and they almost concede within seconds of Veron trotting on to the pitch, with Pablo Barrera's header being cleared off the line by Gabriel Heinze. No need for goalmouth cameras to get that decision right.

  69. 71 mins GOAL Mexico 1-3 Argentina  

    Hope for Mexico? Maybe. But definitely a sign of what Manchester United fans have to look forward to next season. Javier Hernandez makes space for himself in the box with a lightning-quick turn and rifles the ball into the roof of the net before Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero can blink.

  70. 75 mins Commentary  

    Argentina have done virtually nothing since scoring their third goal so they rather brought that Mexico goal on themselves. Still, with a two-goal cushion they should see out the last 20 minutes or so, shouldn't they? I suppose it is time to see whether those rumours of Diego Maradona's dodgy defence are true or not.

  71. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "For his goal, Hernandez just did a little dummy which fooled Nicolas Burdisso, let it run across his body and hit a straight shot past the right arm of Romero. He could have easily been fouled by Nicolas Otamendi as he twisted. A fine strike."

  72. 606  

    From Cynical_Joe MUFC OK : "Hernandez is looking like a really astute signing for Manchester United if he can replicate some of this form in the Premier League."

  73. 80 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Right, Argentina seem to have woken up a bit - at last - but Diego Maradona is taking no chances. Jonas Gutierrez is on for Angel Di Maria, so he is probably expecting more Mexico pressure in the final few minutes. He is probably right.

  74. 82 mins Commentary  

    Pablo Barrera has been superb since coming on at half-time and he has come very close to helping Mexico pull another goal back. After a quick short corner, he curls the ball in from the left and it is heading for Rafael Marquez at the far post until Gabriel Heinze somehow gets across to nod clear.

  75. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg  

    "Fair play to Mexico, who haven't thrown in the towel. However, at 3-1 down they really need everything to go in and a little luck on their side. That hasn't been the story of their night so far."

  76. 86 mins Commentary  

    Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez is down with cramp, and is about to be dragged off the pitch. I think his side are going to make the quarter-finals of the World Cup without having to worry about wasting a few seconds.

  77. 88 mins Commentary  

    Mexico's Carlos Salcido is still shooting from long distance but sadly he seems to have got worse at it as the game went on - his latest effort just sailed about a mile wide. Argentina have just made another change, with Javier Pastore on for Maxi Rodriguez, he of the cramp.

  78. 90 mins Commentary  

    This has not been Lionel Messi's finest hour-and-a-half but at least Argentina have shown they can win without him running the show. Or at least, they are about to. Less than a minute of the 90 to go.

  79. 90 mins INJURY TIME  

    Mexico will have three minutes of added time to find some way of staying in this World Cup. They need to score twice if they are going to do it.

  80. 93 mins Commentary  

    Note to self. Never write Lionel Messi off. N.E.V.E.R. The little maestro wriggles through two challenges on the edge of the box and smashes in a shot that Oscar Perez has to tip over. That wasn't far away from being his first goal of this World Cup.

  81. FULL-TIME Mexico 1-3 Argentina  
  82. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "Argentina are a good side and we've just seen a very good game. Carlos Tevez's first goal should never have been given but his second goal was absolutely magnificent. If Mexico had got a second goal back it would have been a grandstand finish but instead we were off our seats in the final moments willing Lionel Messi to score."

  83. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg  

    "So far, so good for Diego and his side - but his defence hasn't really been tested. I expect that to change against Germany."

  84. 21:27 Commentary  

    Yep, Argentina and Germany will meet in their quarter-final here in Cape Town on Saturday. I'm looking forward to that one quite a lot, and you lot probably are as well. England will not be there, but those two nations have got a little bit of footballing history between them too.

  85. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Both Argentina and Germany have creativity and invention, the ability to change the pace of attack with lots ot clever movement. They play in the final third, they want to score goals and there are all sorts of people running off the ball and creating space."

  86. 606  

    From over_there: "I think we can thank Germany for saving England embarrassment. On today's showing, Mexico would have played them off the park. I dread to think what Argentina would have done."

  87. 21:37 Commentary  

    Well, I hope that game cheered some of you up anyhow. For a start, at least it's not only England who have been on the wrong end of a dubious (to say the least) decision by the officials today. I must say, though, that Mexico's overall performance was a bit better than that of Fabio Capello's men. Still, it matters not - they are both out of the 2010 World Cup, while Germany and Argentina march on.

  88. SMS  

    From Luke: "Two potentially great games today. Both ruined by two bad decisions."

  89. 21:50 Commentary  

    And that is where I bring a tumultuous day in the World Cup to an end. We can wonder how and why it happened all night - and some of you no doubt will - but we have to face up to the facts: England are going home after a disastrous defeat by Germany. Thanks for your company, and see you all soon.

By Paul Fletcher, Johannesburg

Argentina disposed of Mexico to seal a quarter-final tie against Germany - but Diego Maradona's side were aided by another terrible decision on a day of controversy at the World Cup.

Just as England had been incensed earlier on Sunday when a Frank Lampard shot that clearly crossed the goal-line was not awarded in their match against Germany, so Mexico had the right to feel aggrieved by another example of awful officiating.

Javier Aguirre's side probably edged an engrossing opening phase to the contest, but they never recovered after Carlos Tevez headed Argentina in front despite being yards offside when the ball was played to him by Lionel Messi.

It was a decision that prompted the Mexican side to surround the linesman in the aftermath of the goal being awarded and led to a melee as the referee tried to leave the field at the break.

Mexico's prospects of clawing their way back into the contest faded after Ricardo Osorio gifted possession to Gonzalo Higuain, who slotted home his fourth goal of the competition to give Argentina breathing space by the break.

And Tevez's sensational second-half strike ensured that Maradona's team continued their excellent form in South Africa with their fourth straight win of the tournament.

They can now focus on gaining a measure of revenge on Germany, who knocked them out of the 2006 World Cup at the quarter-final stage after a penalty shoot-out.

But the match will doubtless leave a bitter taste in the mouth for Mexico, who pulled a goal back through Javier Hernandez.

El Tri were intent on avenging their defeat against Argentina in 2006 but have now bowed out of the last five World Cups at the round of 16 stage.

Until Argentina took a grip on the tie by scoring twice in eight first-half minutes it had been a fascinating contest between two sides that were obviously comfortable in possession.

There were some wonderful passages of play as both sides enjoyed periods when they probed their opponent's defensive structure with crisp passing and intelligent movement.

Carlos Salcido crashed a long-range effort against the crossbar and Andres Guardado shot narrowly wide as Mexico found space in front of an Argentina backline that many believe to be a possible weak link in an otherwise gifted side.

There had been relatively little to alarm the Mexican side when Tevez struck his controversial opener, which came after his initial effort had been smothered by Oscar Perez and Messi hooked the rebound back into the box.

The goal clearly rattled the Mexicans, particularly after they saw a replay on the big screen inside Soccer City and surrounded the guilty linesman in angry protest.

Several Argentine players, waiting for the restart, joined the fray, perhaps fearing the goal would be ruled out - and there was confusion inside the ground but Tevez's headed finish stood.

Mexico only had themselves to blame for the Albiceleste's second after Osorio, under no immediate pressure, scuffed a pass close to the edge of his penalty area, allowing Higuain to snatch the ball before rounding Perez and slotting home.

Higuain should probably have sealed Argentina's place in the last eight before the break but headed wide from six yards, while Mexico's Manchester United-bound Javier Hernandez was inches from connecting with a cross in injury time.

The Tevez goal was clearly still a source of frustration and several Mexicans surrounded Italian referee Roberto Rosetti and his team as they made their way from the field.

Within seconds players from both teams, plus the ever-involved Maradona, had formed a scrum that threatened to boil over.

Poor officiating and sloppy play had nothing to do with the decisive third goal, which came shortly after the restart when Tevez rifled the ball into the top corner with an unstoppable long-range effort.

Mexico might have thrown in the towel but continued to press, with Hernandez heading wide again and Gabriel Heinze clearing off the line from substitute Guillermo Franco.

They did pull one back when the previously profligate Hernandez turned beautifully to lose the flat-footed Martin DeMichelis before burying a shot beyond Sergio Romero.

Messi, who had a quiet second half, almost scored his first of the tournament late on after a mazy run but his shot was well saved.

Argentina Argentina Flag 3-1 Mexico Flag Mexico FT

(HT 2-0)

Tevez, 25, 52
Higuain, 33
Hernandez, 71






  • Venue: Soccer City
  • Referee: R Rosetti
  • Attendance: 84,377
Argentina     Mexico
  • Possession 59%
  • Attempts on target 9
  • Attempts off target 2
  • Corners 2
  • Fouls 8

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

Get involved

  • SMS: Text us on +44 7786200666
  • Twitter: Tag your tweets with #BBCWorldCup
  • 606: Comment and debate
  • World Cup Have Your Say: Join the BBC's global football conversation