It finally gets underway for Argentina and Saudi Arabia: the first match in Group B at the 2022 World Cup. Argentina is the towering favourite for this duel and the odds for an Argentine victory are therefore very low. In this article, we preview Argentina versus Saudi Arabia. We look at the odds at legal bookmakers Netherlands and the form and statistics of both countries. Based on that, we give a betting tip with corresponding quote.
Argentina World Cup 2022 – Latest Team News and Statistics
The Argentines are one of the top favourites for the World Cup final victory. The Argentines owe this favouritism to their win in the Copa América and to the fact that coach Lionel Scaloni’s team is already unbeaten for 35 matches. The last defeat was over three years ago, when Brazil were too strong in the semi-finals of the second-to-last Copa América. In the last 35 matches, the Argentine team submits an impressive goal difference of 74-17.
With only 17 goals against in 35 matches, the Argentine squad has thus put its defence in excellent order. An important role in this is for two former Ajax players: central defender Lisandro Martínez and left-back Nicolás Tagliafico. Cristian Romero, Tottenham Hotspur’s central defender, is also important.
Offensively, of course, there is Lionel Messi. A burden seems to have fallen off his shoulders now that he has finally won a major prize with the national team by winning the Copa América. At Paris Saint-Germain last year, he had some start-up problems, but is getting into his rhythm. In Lautaro Martínez, he seems to have finally found a mate in attack with whom it clicks. The striker of Inter Milan, where he scored 64 times in 147 games in recent years, also scores easily in the Argentina team. For Argentina, he scored 21 times in 40 matches. He scored important goals in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Copa América, and in World Cup qualifiers he scored the winning goals against Peru, Colombia and Chile, among others. Then there is Ángel di María, who also regularly scored crucial goals for the Argentine team in the last year; like the winning one in the Copa América final against Brazil.
Just before the World Cup, Argentina briefly boosted their confidence by winning 0-5 against the United Arab Emirates. A setback, however, was the loss of winger Nicolas González; the Fiorentina striker was a candidate for a starting place.
Argentina does have some players whose injuries make it questionable whether they will make it to the World Cup. Defender Cristian Romero, in particular, would be missed if he does not make the World Cup. In addition, midfielders Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso and striker Paulo Dybala are currently injured.
Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022 – Latest Team News and Statistics
Saudi Arabia is an experienced but unsuccessful guest at the World Cup: it will be their fifth participation. Between 1994 and 2006, the Saudis were there continuously. Only their first participation saw them survive the first round. During that World Cup, in which the Dutch managed to beat them narrowly 2-1 through a goal by Gaston Taument, they also managed to record the only win: 2-1 against Morocco. At the 2006, 2002 and 1998 World Cups, Saudi Arabia failed to convince much. It lost eight times and drew once. Goal difference: 4-19.
Saudi Arabia qualified by cleverly finishing first in a pool with Japan, Australia, China, Vietnam and Oman. Saudi Arabia scores hard but does not get many goals against either. In the four crucial matches, for instance, away and at home against Australia and Japan, they kept the nil three times. That picture also emerges in the last practice matches: Colombia 0-1 defeat, Venezuela 0-1 defeat, Ecuador 0-0, United States 0-0 and North Macedonia 1-0 victory.
Almost all the defenders play at Al-Nassr FC. So they are well matched. Shortly before the World Cup, Saudi Arabia practised against Croatia and only lost 0-1. A setback for national coach Hervé Renard is that Fahad Al-Muwallad will not participate due to a lingering doping case. With his 74 international matches (17 goals), he was the most experienced international in the World Cup squad
Argentina – Saudi Arabia previous encounters
Only once before have the two teams met, and that was friendly too. In 2012, Saudi Arabia – Argentina finished 0-0. The three recent practice matches against South American opponents have been good preparation for Saudi Arabia. The fact that against Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador they only got two goals against in total does show that Messi and co should not expect a walkover.
Argentina – Saudi Arabia, World Cup 2022: Betting Tip & Quote
This match feels a bit like David against Goliath. The odds at the Netherlands’ legal bookmakers for an Argentina victory are therefore very low. So unless you want to capitalise on a Saudi Arabia stunt, you will have to look further afield to boost the odds. This can be done, for example, by saying that Argentina wins and does not get a goal against. Given the Argentines’ solid defence and the Saudi’s laborious goal production, not an illogical choice.
However, as a goal is always in a small corner anyway, we will go for giving Argentina a handicap of -1. Our betting tip for Argentina – Saudi Arabia is therefore: Argentina wins, handicap -1. At Bet365 you get a quote of 1.53 for this.
- Tip: Argentina wins, handicap -1
- Quote: 1/2 at bookmaker Bet365
- Risk assessment: Low
- Recommended stake: 6/10