World Cup 2022: Best bet for Argentina-Saudi Arabia

By Nigel Seeley  (VSiN.com) 

November 21, 2022 07:08 PM
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Best bet for Argentina-Saudi Arabia

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For many people (myself included), Argentina is the likely winner of this World Cup -- and they begin their 2022 campaign against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. The Argentinians are on an incredible 36-match unbeaten run and will equal Italy’s World record 37 in this fixture. They are a confident selection to achieve that record and break it against Mexico.

The opening game of this World Cup highlighted the gulf in class between South America and the Middle East countries, as Ecuador easily beat Qatar 2-0. I believe this game will further highlight that disparity. The main reason I like Argentina is the team’s strength in all different apartments across the pitch.

There is no weak link in this Argentina team and though they have Messi, they are far from a one-man band. Messi will make so many chances for front man Lautaro Martinez throughout the tournament, but in this match I believe he will find the back of the net. At +125 for Messi to score, that looks a nice play in what I expected to be a very wide margin win for Argentina. Martinez comes here after a strong season with Inter Milan and the Saudi defense may find keeping him out a difficult -- if not impossible -- task. He has already scored 21 international goals and will see this game as an ideal opportunity to announce himself in the tournament by adding to that tally.

Argentina is a team full of confidence, which you would expect for a team unbeaten for so long, but the team doesn’t strike me as complacent and Messi will not allow them to turn up here not fully focused.

Saudi Arabia is a veteran of five World Cups but has only made it out of the group stage on one occasion (1994). They have had their World Cup moments – like in 2018 when they beat Egypt 2-1 -- but it is fair to say against the top teams they have been found wanting. Russia delivered a 5-0 defeat in 2018 and Germany won 8-0 in 2002. I believe there is a distinct possibility the inform Argentina filled with world-class players could deliver another heavy defeat to the Saudis here.

To be fair the Saudis have shown decent form since qualification, playing eight games in the build up to the finals. They have beaten Iceland 1-0, drawn with Panama and were only beaten 1-0 by Croatia. Here though they are about to go to a whole new level against Argentina and it is a level I believe they cannot cope with.

It is hard if not impossible to find a weakness in this Argentina side and I believe they will announce their presence at this World Cup with a comfortable victory, and it could be by a wide margin. The Green Eagles may struggle to get off the ground here!

Pick: Argentina -1.5 (-190)

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