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Argentina vs. Australia: Why to expect a victory for Lionel Scaloni’s side

Argentina vs. Australia: Why to expect a victory for Lionel Scaloni’s side

Argentina will meet Australia in Al Rayyan on Saturday, with the two teams battling for a spot in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup.

Lionel Scaloni‘s side managed to top Group C courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Poland on Wednesday, with the South Americans recovering from a shock loss to Saudi Arabia in their first match to progress.

Australia, meanwhile, impressively finished second in Group D behind the world champions France, picking up six points from their three matches courtesy of wins over Tunisia and Denmark in their last two games in the section.

The statistics certainly point to an Argentina victory in this match, with La Albiceleste triumphing in five of the previous seven meetings between the two sides, including victories in their last four clashes.

Australia’s only victory came back in 1988 in the Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup, with current head coach Graham Arnold playing for the Socceroos in that match.

The last competitive meeting between the two nations was in the Confederations Cup in June 2005, with Argentina recording a 4-2 victory, which included a hat trick from Luciano Figueroa.

This will be Australia’s fifth World Cup contest against a South American nation, meanwhile, and they are winless in the previous four, losing three times in the process.

Argentina have actually only faced 11 shots across their three games at the World Cup, which is the fewest in the tournament, suggesting that Australia could find it difficult to create openings on Saturday.

La Albiceleste have kept back-to-back clean sheets in the competition against Mexico and Poland, while Australia’s last two wins over Tunisia and Denmark have only been by the one goal.

Lionel Messi will be looking to register in the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time, and he has impressed in the competition thus far, scoring twice, but the forward did miss a penalty against Poland last time out.

Messi also created five chances against Poland, suggesting that he could potentially set up a teammate for a goal in the last-16 contest.

This is just the second time that Australia have been present in the last-16 stage of a World Cup, but Argentina are regulars in the latter stages of the tournament, which should also hand them an advantage, especially if it becomes a nervy affair.

Read more on Argentina vs Australia

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How Argentina could line up against Australia
How Australia could line up against Argentina
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