Argentina vs Australia - World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction
Argentina are up against a spirited Australia side in the World Cup round of 16 on Saturday evening.
Lionel Scaloni's Copa America champions were billed as one of the pre-tournament favourites before a ball was kicked in this highly controversial competition. A shock defeat to Saudi Arabia tempered expectations but Argentina recovered to top their group with victories gainst Mexico and Poland.
Graham Arnold insisted: "No-one in Australia had given us a chance.” And that was just about qualifying for the finals. 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark in Qatar has sent the Socceroos into their second-ever knockout stage match at a men's World Cup.
Here's everything you need to know about this last 16 tie.
Where are Argentina vs Australia playing?
- Location: Al-Rayyan, Qatar
- Stadium: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
- Date: Saturday 3 December
- Kick-off time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 ET / 11:00 PT
Argentina vs Australia H2H Results (Last Four Results)
- Argentina: 5 Wins
- Australia: 1 Win
- Draws: 1
Current Form (Last Five Games)
- Argentina: WWLWW
- Australia: WWLWW
Argentina team news
As ever, the fitness focus for Argentina has revolved around Lionel Messi. On multiple occasions during the group stage reports emerged that Messi had been training on his own. Argentina's manager and the skipper himself have been quick to dispel any doubts lingering over Messi's fitness.
Angel Di Maria was taken off against Poland as a precaution after feeling discomfort in his quadriceps. However, Scaloni stressed post-game: "Di Maria is fine."
Argentina predicted lineup vs Australia
Argentina Starting 11 (4-3-3): E Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez.
Bench: Armani, Rulli, Li Martinez, Pezzella, Tagliafico, Foyth, Montiel, Paredes, Rodriguez, Palacios, Almada, Gomez, Correa, Dybala, La Martinez.
Australia team news
Arnold is expected to have a full squad at his disposal for the historic matchup with Argentina this weekend. Martin Boyle was named in the initial 26-man contingent but had to pull out with a knee injury. However, the Hibernian winger has remained in Qatar - on crutches - as the team's "vibes manager".
Australia predicted lineup vs Argentina
Australia Starting 11 (4-4-2): Ryan; Degenek, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; Leckie, Irvine, Mooy, Goodwin; Duke, McGree.
Bench: Vukovic, Wright, Devlin, Cummings, King, Redmayne, Tilio, Deng, Kuol, Baccus, Hrustic, Karacic, Maclaren, Mabil, Atkinson.
Argentina vs Australia betting tips
Argentina to win to nil – 13 of Argentina’s last 14 wins in all competitions have come tonil, including each of their last nine.
Australia to win by a single goal – Five of Australia’s last six wins in all competitionshave come by a single goal margin.
Australia to win by a single goal is currently 12/1*
Both teams to score? Yes – Argentina have scored in each of their last 12 games in all competitions while Australia have scored in each of their last five.
Both to teams to score is currently 13/8*
Either side to keep a clean sheet – Australia have kept a clean sheet in five of their lastsix matches in all competitions, while Argentina have kept seven shutouts in their last eight.AUSTRALIA TO SCORE FIRST -Australia have opened the scoring in each of their last fivegames in all competitions, including all three matches at the 2022 World Cup so far.
Lionel Messi to score twice & Argentina to win – Lionel Messi has scored 2+ goals in 18international matches, with Argentina going on to win all 18 of those games.
Julian Alvarez over 1.5 shots on target – Julian Alvarez has scored four goals in his five starts forArgentina, having exactly three shots on target in two of his last four starts, including last timeout vs Poland.
To score or assist – Matthew Leckie has been directly involved in two of Australia’s threegoals at the 2022 World Cup (1 goal, 1 assist). He’s one of only three players to score and assistin a single World Cup for Australia, along with Tim Cahill (2 goals, 1 assist) and John Aloisi in2006 (1 goal, 2 assists).
Over 3.5 total match cards – Argentina’s three games at the 2022 World Cup have produced 13 cards (4.3 on average per game), with their opponents receiving 11 of those cautions (2 for Argentina).
Insights courtesy of Opta. Head to The Analyst Stats Hub for live group stage standings, top scores, match metrics, team stats and much more!
*Odds correct at time of publication. 18+. Please gamble responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
Argentina vs Australia score prediction
Saudi Arabia's upset has certainly removed the imperious gloss that Argentina carried into the tournament. However, Scaloni's side has improved with each outing in the desert.
Australia have inspired riotous scenes of celebration back home through a dogged approach but they have benefitted from some unusually efficient finishing - Craig Goodwin and Mat Leckie (the match-winner against Denmark) have both scored with their only shots of the tournament.
It's impossible to say whether their luck will turn this weekend - which is why the World Cup is a breeding ground of shocks. But there is little doubt that the Socceroos will need a dollop of good fortune to overcome an Argentinian outfit tentatively rediscovering the slick edge which has defined their commanding form in the last three years.
Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Australia