When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
The odds for Argentina vs Australia have been taken from the Unibet Sportsbook, where you can get a $250 risk-free bet today.
In the end, Argentina made it through to the knockout stage of World Cup 2022 pretty comfortably. A shock early exit was a very real possibility when Lionel Scaloni’s side suffered a stunning 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest upsets in the history of this competition. But consecutive 2-0 victories over Mexico and Poland saw them advance as Group C winners.
That defeat by the Saudis threatened to throw Argentina’s entire campaign off course. They were not perfect in the subsequent game against Mexico, but they did deserve to collect all three points on the balance of play. Against Poland on Thursday, Argentina were far superior to their opponents and could easily have scored four or five goals.
There is a feeling that Scaloni has now found his best team. The injury sustained by Gio Lo Celso shortly before the tournament robbed Argentina of one of their most important players, a midfielder who was crucial to the network of passing that was such a key feature of their play in Copa America 2021 and throughout South America’s qualification campaign.
Scaloni tried Papu Gomez and Guido Rodriguez as replacements, but neither man was convincing. The balance of the midfield looked much better against Poland, with Enzo Fernandez stationed between Alexis Mac Allister and Rodrigo De Paul. Scaloni will surely stick with that trio on Saturday.
Further forward, Julian Alvarez has usurped Lautaro Martinez in the pecking order. Lionel Messi had his best game of the tournament against Poland, where he was deployed as a false nine and given the license to drift across the pitch. Alvarez did a fine job of filling the space Messi vacated, ensuring the Polish center-backs always had something to think about.
Argentina were aided by a dismal display from their opponents, but there was a rhythm to their play on Thursday that was missing previously. That suggests the Albiceleste might be serious contenders after all.
Most Australia fans were pessimistic going into this tournament. Drawn alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D, the consensus was that a third-place finish was the best they could hope for. Instead, the Socceroos qualified for the knockout phase for only the second time in their history.
The only other Australia side to make it this far was the golden generation of 2006. At most, only one member of the current team would make it into the starting XI from 18 years ago. Yet Graham Arnold’s side have upset the odds to match that historic accomplishment.
The coach deserves a huge amount of credit. Australia finished a distant third in their Asian qualification group, behind Saudi Arabia and Japan. They needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome Peru in the inter-confederation play-offs. There were few signs that Australia were about to do something special in Qatar.
That feeling was reinforced when they were thumped 4-1 by France on matchday one. But Australia responded brilliantly, beating both Tunisia and Denmark 1-0 to go through in second spot.
In the decisive game against the Danes, Australia faced a team with 10 players who ply their trade in one of Europe’s top five leagues (the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga), compared to none of their own.
Yet with a heady mix of grit, spirit and supreme organization, the Socceroos got the result they needed. In the end, it was pretty comfortable: after a strong start, Denmark faded dramatically and Australia held out for a clean sheet without too much difficulty.
Denmark were one of the biggest disappointments of the group phase, particularly after their strong recent showings at the European Championship and in the Nations League. Australia pulled off an upset by beating them, but a victory over Argentina would comfortably surpass that - not least because the Socceroos have never reached the quarter-finals of a World Cup before.
However, this is likely to be a bridge too far for this plucky Australia side. Led by center-backs Harry Souttar and Jamie Rowles, expect a deep defense, plenty of blocks and tackles, and no shortage of bravery. But after Messi delivered a sublime showing against Poland, Argentina will fancy their chances of pulling Australia’s defensive structure apart.
Arnold’s men took the lead against France in their first game in Qatar, but they were ultimately outclassed and lost by three clear goals. A similar outcome could be on the cards on Saturday. Australia will give it everything they have got, and they may grow in confidence if the score is still level at half-time.
More likely, though, is that Argentina’s superior quality will tell, especially now they have some momentum behind them. Back a win by a three-goal margin or more.
Teams: Argentina vs Australia
Location: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Time: Saturday, 3 December 2022, 2:00 PM EST
How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.