Best bet for Argentina-Mexico
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You can’t beat a Saturday at the World Cup Finals, and this should be fantastic with no less than four games to give us a betting interest. This World Cup is really finding its feet and producing some great soccer in fantastic stadiums. Saturday could be the best day of the tournament so far with some huge matchups.
Denmark vs. France in the all-European clash at 11 a.m. ET will be a fascinating encounter with France looking to build on their 4-1 mauling of Australia. Denmark will provide them a much sterner test in a what should be an exciting game.
My pick of the day though is in the game of the day as the wounded tiger that is Argentina take on Mexico in a must-win match. Firstly, let me say that being out here in Qatar I cannot stress to you just how many Mexico fans are in Doha supporting their team. That will be a great help for the side with their fanatical support within the stadium, but I’m not sure it will be enough to stop Argentina.
The shock of the tournament so far was clearly Argentina’s improbable defeat to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Now that the dust has settled, I am convinced Argentina did not play as badly as the score line suggests and I expect Mexico to face a backlash to that defeat here on Saturday.
Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni is experienced enough to ignore the noise created by the shock result and refocus his stars on getting back to the form that saw them put together a record 36-game unbeaten streak. Argentina took the lead and looked in complete control against the Saudis, but events conspired against them somewhat with disallowed goals and missed chances. They really could have been out of sight at half time.
Talisman and GOAT Messi looks to have got over any injury worries and he will know in his last World Cup that his side cannot slip up any further as history is against them: Spain is the only side to lose their opening fixture and go on to win the World Cup.
Striker Lautaro Martinez needs to come to the party but this Argentinian side has an abundance of attacking options -- such as Angel Correa -- to come in. They had won their previous five games before the Saudi clash and I think we will see a positive attacking display from Argentina to get its World Cup back on track.
Mexico, managed by Argentinian Gerardo Martino, arrive here on the back of a slightly fortunate 0-0 draw with Poland in its opening encounter. They survived a missed penalty and will have been the happier of the two sides at the end. They struggled to put Poland’s goal under threat, and I feel it will be a similar case here. Martino’s men arrived at the finals in poor form, and I see Argentina having lots of possession and playing with a determination that should see them obtain a comfortable victory. Mexico do offer an attacking threat through Lozano and Vega but I am not sure they will see enough of the ball and their ageing goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa looks set for a very busy evening.
Pick: Argentina -1 Asian Handicap -110
Though not my official pick, I do want to mention Poland vs. Saudi Arabia. My play here is Poland at -133 on the moneyline. That may sound an odd choice with Saudi Arabia arriving on top of the World after beating Argentina. Often when a team climbs a mountain and has its greatest ever moment, it can come crashing down in the following fixture. I think the Saudis may be flat here and Poland played well against Mexico and really should have won with Lewandowski missing a penalty. With Argentina waiting for them in the final game, Poland really need a win here -- and I expect them to deliver one.