Kick-off: 1000, 22/11/2022
Stadium: Lusail Stadium
Argentina versus Saudi Arabia looks like the biggest mismatch among the early games at the 2022 World Cup, with Lionel Messi and Co expected to get off to a flyer.
La Albiceleste are big favourites to top Group C, which also features Mexico and Poland, and can lay down a marker for a run deep into the tournament.
A win for the South Americans with over 3.5 combined goals scored is 33/20 and that is our first Argentina vs Saudi Arabia prediction.
Things did not quite go according to plan four years ago for Argentina. They staggered rather than swaggered through their group after drawing with Iceland, losing to Croatia and edging past Nigeria before going down by the odd goal in seven to eventual champions France in the last 16.
Their early exit in Russia must be considered a blip, though, as this is a team who made the final in 2014, won the most recent Copa America and were unbeaten through 17 matches of the gruelling South American qualifying process for Qatar.
Argentina made it to the decider eight years ago without sweeping teams aside. Every game was settled by a one-goal margin until the semi-final, where they beat the Netherlands on penalties.
But since then, they have been putting the foot down. They beat Bolivia 4-1 and Ecuador 3-0 in the Copa America, while Venezuela, Uruguay and Bolivia were swatted 3-0 on the road to Qatar.
Italy were brushed aside 3-0 at Wembley in June in the inaugural Finalissima, Messi then scored all of the goals in a 5-0 rout of Estonia, while Honduras and Jamaica were both beaten 3-0 in September friendlies.
Messi, who now has 91 goals from 165 international games after Wednesday’s 5-0 warm-up win over UAE, will be at the heart of everything they do again in what is likely to be his last chance to land the biggest prize.
He is Argentina vs Saudi Arabia odds.
Saudi Arabia Odds
Saudi Arabia made the worst possible start to the World Cup last time out, going down 5-0 to Russia before giving a better account of themselves in a narrow defeat by Uruguay and a last-gasp win over Egypt.
Their more recent record has seen further improvement. They won six and drew two in the second round of qualifying and only lost once in the third round to Japan, who followed them through.
But in friendlies against South American opposition during the June international break, they lost 1-0 to Colombia and Venezuela, while September brought goalless stalemates versus Ecuador and USA.
The Saudis don’t have far to travel to neighbouring Qatar and should have plenty of backing but they probably won’t have too much to cheer in this one.
Grabbing a consolation goal in defeat may be the best they can hope for, so 5/2 for that to happen completes our Argentina vs Saudi Arabia betting tips.
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