World Cup Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, June 27, 2010 (All times Eastern)

Argentina (3-0-0) vs. Mexico (1-1-1), 2:30 p.m.

Johannesburg, South Africa (Sports Network) - Mexico advanced to the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup for the fifth consecutive time, but to end its run of four straight round of 16 exits, will have to beat Argentina on Sunday.

Mexico finished second to Uruguay in Group A, and its reward in the first game of the knockout round is unbeaten Group B winner Argentina.

Argentina won all three of its group games, disposing of Nigeria, South Korea, and Greece by combined scores of 7-1.

Mexico opened with a 1-1 draw against South Africa, then topped France 2-0 and ended with a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay to set up the knockout stage opener against Argentina at Ellis Park Stadium.

"We're hurting after this game and this result. We're left with a sour taste in our mouths. It's true that we've qualified and that's the most important thing, but we need to go over all the errors we made," Mexico defender Rafael Marquez said.

"It'll be crucial to work hard and improve ahead of what's to come."

Marquez rescued Mexico in its opener with a 79th-minute equalizer, then posted a more impressive result against France thanks to second-half goals by Javier Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

Although Mexico basically had a knockout stage berth sealed entering its group finale against Uruguay, midfielder Giovani Dos Santos admitted the team has to improve or it faces another quick exit against Argentina.

"We've got a lot of things to work on. It's vital for us to set the record straight as a team from now on," Dos Santos said.

Argentina coach Diego Maradona, who led the country to its last title in 1986, has to be excited after the first stage. Argentina had four different scorers in the first three games, and Lio Messi hasn't found the net yet.

Messi has played extremely well, though, and if he ends his scoring drought in the knockout stage, Maradona will be able to shower more praise on his side.

"The team did a fantastic job. Every single one of my players did exactly what I wanted them to do," Maradona said after the Greece match.

06/26 12:25:33 ET