- Argentina v Australia
- Saturday, December 3, 2022, 14:00 ET
- At the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Argentina survived an early scare in its World Cup Group campaign but has progressed to face unexpected opponents in Australia in the Round of 16.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that World Cup bettors are favoring Argentina heavily ahead of this game. The 1986 World Cup winner is a massive -525 favorite to beat Australia, while the draw is rated at between +570 and +640 and Australia is at +1500.
|Argentina v Australia|
World Cup Second-Round Betting Briefing
Argentina is one of the highest-profile World Cup nations, having played at all but four of the editions of the competition. It has been ever-present since 1974 and Argentine teams have been involved in some of the most dramatic and headline-grabbing World Cup moments.
In 17 visits to the World Cup, Argentina has reached the Final five times, finishing as runners-up in 1930, 1990, and 2014, and winning it twice, in 1978 and 1986. The second of those victories, along with the runners-up finish in 1990, came in teams led by the legendary Diego Maradona. Since then, however, it has only once reached the last four, in 2014 when it lost to Germany in the final.
Australia’s relationship with the World Cup has been a strange one. Prior to the 2006 tournament, it had only reached the competition once, in 1974. But since 2006, it has qualified for the World Cup for five tournaments in a row, despite switching from Oceania to the tougher Asian qualifying tournament.
Reaching the Second Round, however, has been a rare achievement. It has happened only once before, in 2006, so this year’s progress has already hit the high mark for that nation.
Argentina Show Resilience
Defeat to Saudi Arabia in its first game may have brought back memories of some of the less successful Argentine World Cup campaigns, but this squad is far stronger and more resilient than most.
That loss may have grabbed the headlines, but it wasn’t down to poor play from Argentina. The stats from that game suggested that Saudi Arabia had ridden their luck, scoring two goals from only three on target. But while it didn’t represent Argentina’s ability, that defeat did test the players’ resilience.
Fortunately for Argentina fans, their players responded. They stayed patient to beat Mexico in the next game, scoring two goals in the last half an hour, and then picked up another win with a solid victory over Poland, in which it registered an Expected Goals figure of 3.3, the third highest for an individual game so far in the tournament, behind France and Spain.
That performance was much more like the Argentina that many of us had expected to see and it now looks like a solid contender to go deep in this competition.
Australia Deserves Credit
Reaching the knockout stages of a World Cup for only the second time in its history, Australia has shown all of the battling qualities and determination that its soccer teams have been known for.
The players deserve a lot of credit, having resurrected a qualifying campaign that looked doomed at the midway point and then recovering from a 4-1 thrashing by France in their opening game, before beating both Tunisia and Denmark to qualify as second in Group D.
In both of those games, Australia has looked strong, physically resilient and dangerous at set pieces, qualities that mean it cannot be overlooked.
World Cup Second-Round Match Betting
To put this game in context, it’s worth noting that Australia’s total Expected Goals figure across three World Cup Group D games was 1.8, a figure that Argentina surpassed in one game alone.
You might assume that this means Australia at least keep things tight at the other end. In fact, it has the seventh-worst defense in terms of Expected Goals conceded in the tournament so far. Much of that was down to the defeat by France, but then, Argentina is not far off France’s level.
Worryingly for Australia, there is evidence that Argentina is getting better. After the opening shock against Saudi Arabia, it improved in a slightly nervy display against Mexico and then qualified in style with a dominant performance against Poland that was not reflected in the scoreline.
It feels as though at some point, Argentina is going to deal someone a big defeat, and Australia appears to be in the firing line here. On the stats and the balance of play in their games so far, Australia has ridden its luck. That luck is likely to run out on Saturday.
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