Sunday, January 29, 2023

Prediction: Argentina vs Australia

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 1 Dec 2022

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Verdict: Argentina win to nil

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Looking to avoid what would be a real knockout stage banana skin on Saturday night, Argentina will meet Australia at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Argentina

Starting with Argentina, while the South American giants might have opened this year’s World Cup adventure with an infamous 2-1 loss at the hands of Saudi Arabia, Lionel Scaloni’s men have come roaring back. Along with claiming a nervy 2-0 victory against Mexico last week, La Albiceleste certainly put in another thumping display on Wednesday night. Eventually cruising their way to another 2-0 win against Poland in Doha, Argentina also clinched their spot as Group C winners. Despite enduring a stuttering start to their Qatar quest on November 22nd, Scaloni’s side should be confident of laying down a Round of 16 marker here. With many still tipping the two-time world champions as a leading contender in the Middle East, it should also be noted that the South American heavyweights are have suffered just a single defeat across any competition since way back in July 2019. A squad that has a string of attacking superstars at their disposal, there is no doubt that Argentina should be smelling a golden chance this weekend.

Team News

Despite missing a first-half penalty against Poland earlier in the week, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi will spearhead Argentina’s charge here. Likewise, bagging his first international strike on Wednesday night, Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister should retain his spot.

Continuing to impress over the past fortnight, Benfica’s 21-year-old Enzo Fernandez should once again partner Rodrigo de Paul at the heart of Scaloni’s midfield.

Australia

As for Australia, while the Socceroos might have known that they faced a huge task against Denmark earlier in the week, Graham Arnold’s side put in what was an iconic display in Al Wakrah. Eventually picking up a gritty 1-0 victory against Denmark on Wednesday afternoon, they have gained plenty of praise over the past fortnight. Despite getting their World Cup adventure off to a sluggish start as they suffered a 4-1 loss against France on November 21st, the former Sydney boss saw his squad claim a silver medal finish in Group D. Claiming back-to-back 1-0 win against the Danes and Tunisia, they also punched their first knockout stage ticket since 2006. However, while Australia might find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high heading into Saturday’s showdown, the Yellows will know that they face a monumental challenge here. It should be noted, including a 1-0 loss when they last faced off against Argentina back in 2007, Arnold’s men have lost each of their last three meetings.

Team News

Putting in another stellar display in Australia’s 1-0 win against Denmark on Wednesday, Stoke’s Harry Souttar will once again partner Kye Rowles at the heart of Arnold’s defence.

While Arnold is expected to name the same starting XI on Saturday night, 24-year-old St. Mirren’s Keanu Baccus could replace Craig Goodwin.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides last faced off back in 2007, Argentina picked up a 1-0 victory.
    • Likewise, the South American giants are unbeaten in all four of their meetings against Australia – recording three victories and a single draw.
    • Argentina’s 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia on November 22nd is their only defeat since July 2019.
    • Including their World Cup qualifying run, Australia have won seven of their previous eight appearances across all formats.
    • The Socceroos have seen six of their last seven contests finish with under 2.5 goals.

    Conclusion

    While Australia might have stunned Denmark thanks to their 1-0 win earlier in the week, the Socceroos will know they face a monumental challenge here. With Argentina eventually wrapping up top spot in Group C after claiming back-to-back 2-0 victories against Poland and Mexico, La Albiceleste will simply be looking to avoid a major World Cup banana skin on Saturday night. Managing to prove that their 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia on November 22nd was just a minor blip, the South American icons have been handed a golden chance this weekend. Now recording a clean sheet in seven of their previous eight appearances across all formats, it is hard to see anything other than a routine Argentina victory here.

    Verdict: Argentina win to nil

    Best Odds: 7/10

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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