Argentina got two goals from Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez to beat Mexico 3–1 in a cold Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Diego Maradona’s men set up a repeat of the 2006 World Cup quarterfinal against Germany on Saturday.
The biggest talking point in this match was Carlos Tevez’s first goal, which was scored from an offside position in the 26th minute. In front of a gaping net, Tevez was the last man when he was fed the ball from Lionel Messi for the easy header. The Mexican players protested vigorously in front of the linesman for at least two minutes before play resumed.
If FIFA has any doubt about the need for instant replay or additional officials, today’s two games would put those doubts to rest. After Tevez’s offside goal and Frank Lampard’s goal not being awarded in the England–Germany game, the officiating mistakes have to be addressed.
Mexico had started out the game very brightly as Carlos Salcido’s long blast hit the crossbar and Andres Guardado’s left-footer narrowly went by the far post.
Messi was very active in the early going stealing a ball in midfield and attempting to chip keeper Oscar Perez in the 12th minute. He didn’t manage to get on the board for the fourth game although his influence on the game can’t be denied.
While Mexico struggled to put the offside goal behind them, defender Ricardo Osorio dug his team a deeper grave when he simply coughed up the ball to Gonzalo Higuain just after the half hour mark. Higuain fought off Osorio, rounded the keeper, and scored his World Cup leading fourth goal. At 2–0, things would be very difficult for the Mexicans.
While Tevez’s first goal should not have counted, he left no doubt about his second goal. In the 52nd minute, he ripped a rocket of a blast into the top corner, giving Argentina a 3–0 lead.
The hard working striker was substituted for Juan Sebastian Veron about 15 minutes later as Argentina became content to sit back and guard their lead.
To Mexico’s credit, they took control of the game and deservedly got on the board in the 71st minute when Javier Hernandez turned Martin Demichelis and fired a left-footer into the top corner.
Hernandez, who will be going to Manchester United, provided the finishing touch for a well-worked passing play.
Maradona’s dream run continues and he was as emotional as ever as his team pulled through. Despite the incorrect awarding of Tevez’s goal, Argentina still did what they had to do to win. It was always going to be tough for Mexico to overcome the bad call and the defensive blunder.