Sunday, January 29, 2023

Prediction: Holland vs Argentina

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 7 Dec 2022

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Verdict: Argentina to qualify 

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

In what is a real heavyweight battle on Friday night, Holland and Argentina will meet at the Lusail Iconic Stadium with a World Cup semi-final spot up for grabs.

Holland

Starting with Holland, while the European giants might have failed to book their ticket out in Russia four years ago, Louis van Gaal’s side have continued to shine on their return to the world stage. Enjoying what has been an extended purple patch since welcoming back the former Manchester United boss for a third stint in charge, the Oranges should find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high. Taking seven points from their three Group A appearances and breezing their way to the knockout stage without breaking much of a sweat, Holland could be smelling the chance to spring an upset in Lusail. Extending on their adventure last week as they claimed a 3-1 victory against the USA, van Gaal’s side are now in the midst of a remarkable 19-match unbeaten run across all formats. With that run stemming all the way back to June 2021, they have also shipped just two strikes in their previous six outings.

Team News

Bagging his first World Cup strike in Holland’s 3-1 victory against the USA last week, Memphis Depay should once again partner the red-hot Cody Gakpo in attack.

With van Gaal likely to go with the same starting XI on Friday night, Liverpool’s defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk should be joined by Manchester City’s Nathan Ake.

Argentina

As for Argentina, while the South American icons might have opened their World Cup adventure with an infamous 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia on November 22nd, La Albiceleste have come roaring back. Clinching back-to-back 2-0 victories against Poland and Mexico as they wrapped up top spot in Group H, Lionel Scaloni’s men are looking to write real history in Qatar this month. Booking their quarter-final ticket after landing a deserved 2-1 win against Australia last week, they have remarkably lost just one of their previous 40 matchups across all competitions – a run that stems all the way back to July 2019. With many tipping them as a leading pick in the Middle East this winter, Argentina will be calling on their attacking talisman to spearhead their charge in Lusail. Including a wonderful solo strike against Australia, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has already notched three World Cup strikes.

Team News

Continuing to impress in Qatar this year and notching back-to-back World Cup goals, Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez should once again join Messi in attack this weekend.

Handed a rest against Australia last week, Juventus ace Angel Di Maria could be in line for a full recall on Friday night. The ex-Real Madrid star looks set to replace Papu Gomez.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides last faced off at the 2014 World Cup, Argentina picked up a penalties victory in the semi-finals.
    • Each of their last four meetings across all competitions finished with under 2.5 goals.
    • Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has recorded three World Cup strikes this winter.
    • Argentina have lost just one of their previous 40 appearances across all formats – a run that stems all the way back to July 2019.
    • Likewise, yet to taste a single World cup defeat this year, Holland are unbeaten in each of their last 19 outings.

    Conclusion

    While Argentina might have opened their World Cup adventure with that infamous 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia last month, the South American powerhouse have come roaring back. Suffering just a single defeat from any of their last 40 straight appearances across all formats, they should also be boosted by their 2014 success against Holland. Although the Orangers might have enjoyed a stunning purple patch over the past 18 months, there is no doubt that the European giants will face a tough test in Lusail. Although we do expect what could be a cagey affair this weekend, we’re backing Messi and Argentina to extend on their Qatar quest here.

    Verdict: Argentina to qualify 

    Best Odds: 4/6

    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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