Argentina look to avoid a shock cupset as they meet Australia at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Round of 16 at 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Victory would see Argentina or Australia face the winner of Saturday’s (3 December) afternoon clash between Netherlands and USA in the Quarter-Finals.
Argentina have no fresh injury concerns to report and manager, Lionel Scaloni could opt to name an unchanged starting line-up, as Enzo Fernandez looks to keept his spot after impressing in their last two matches.
Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna would miss the semi-finals
Australia also have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this match but manager, Graham Arnold could opt to rotate his squad due to suspension concerns.
Milos Degenek, Aziz Behich, Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine and Mitchell Duke are all at risk of suspension, which would mean missing the Quarter-Final if Australia win and any of those five players are booked again.
- This is Argentina’s first meeting against Australia at any World Cup Finals, although they are unbeaten in two previous clashes in a play-off for a place at 1994 World Cup (W1, D1).
- Australia are yet to beat Argentina when they faced the Argentineans as the ‘away’ team, in which they failed to score and conceded five goals in three previous such meetings (L3).
- Argentina have kept four clean sheets in seven previous meetings against Australia in all competitions.
- Four of Argentina’s five goals have been scored after half-time at this World Cup.
- Matthew Leckie has provided one goal and assist for Australia in their three matches so far this tournament.
After stuttering their way through their defeat to Saudi Arabia and the first-half of their eventual win against Mexico, Argentina seem to have finally clicked at this World Cup with clinical wins over Mexico and Poland – although they were just superbly dominant against the latter team.
Now, I would like to see them bring that quality into this game but play even better because there is still roon for improvement, especially in their end product because they certainly could of scored more goals than they managed so far.
Australia meanwhile are underdogs in this game but have demonstrated a clinical edge in wins over Tunisia and Denmark, plus will know that a huge defensive improvement is needed because Argentina could pose the same issues that they faced in their opening defeat against France.
Given the huge quality difference between both teams, I feel that Australia’s only hope is to play on the counter-attack otherwise Argentina surely should win this rather comfortably.
Prediction: Argentina 2-0 Australia
Result: Argentina 2-1 Australia
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