Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Betting tips, predictions, odds & match preview
Argentina are many people’s choice for the title in this World Cup and they begin their campaign against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at 10am (UK time).
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia betting tips
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Argentina vs Saudi Arabia predictions
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Predictions
|11/25 with BetUK
|Argentina 3-0 Saudi Arabia
|24/5 with BetUK
|3/1 with BetUK
A 36-match undefeated streak is evidence enough that Argentina are a genuine contender for the World Cup this year. The fact that one of those 36 games was the 2021 Copa America final against Brazil where La Albiceleste finally got one over on their big rivals to win a major tournament also suggests that some mental baggage has been parked too.
The balance of the squad is edged slightly towards the forward talent, but not as much as recently. Lionel Scaloni has been consistent with his selection of a back four and the full-backs play a key role in both directions. This is because the rest of the team is fairly narrow, with a lot of technical quality allowing them to dominate the ball and manipulate space to create chances. In addition this is, of course, Lionel Messi’s last big chance to register some success on the global stage with his country. The supporting cast of Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria, and Paulo Dybala are high in quality and surely determined to help Messi achieve, and, more importantly, help their country reach their first World Cup final since 1990.
The first hurdle to leap over are the qualifiers from the AFC, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi team and the Saudi people are excited for this tournament as it is right on their doorstep. In fact, Saudi Arabia is the only land border to Qatar. This has given rise to a belief that the players are perfectly suited to the conditions, certainly more so than most Europeans and South Americans, and therefore there is a chance for Saudi Arabia to progress from the group stage for the first time since 1994.
Indeed, the mid-nineties really were the glory days for Saudi national football. Their last Asian Cup triumph was in 1996, and their record in that tournament since then has been poor. No final appearance since 2007 shows how much difficulty the Green Falcons have had in tournament football. However, Al-Hilal’s triumphs in the Asian Champions League in 2019 and 2021 have delivered a lot of confidence. There are 12 squad members from the Al-Hilal club in this World Cup, including Asian Cup MVP Salem Al-Dawsari. Al-Dawsari is a midfielder at the peak of his form and the country’s best chance of goals in this tournament, he has 17 international goals to his name, the highest in the squad.
The problem they are going to have in this match, of course, is that the Green Falcons will likely be starved of possession. Although tactical analysis of Saudi Arabia suggests that they are a high-pressing side with high tempo and a direct style with the ball, Argentina simply have better players and will be able to impose their possession style on them.
Saudi Arabia have also had the licence to play seven preparatory friendlies for this tournament and followed the time-honoured tradition of playing neighbouring countries to their prospective opponents. Draws against the USA, Honduras and Panama will put them in decent stead for their fixture with Mexico, but defeats to Colombia and Venezuela, plus a 0-0 with Ecuador, will not fill them with great confidence for Argentina, who soundly defeated all of those countries in qualification for this tournament.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia match result odds
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia match stats
Argentina have kept clean sheets in their last five matches and 14 of their last 16. Lionel Messi has averaged 4.31 shots per 90 in 2022 so far, Joaquin Correa, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez also average over three shots per 90 in this calendar year.
Indeed it is that man Messi, whom one of his former Barcelona managers, Luis Enrique, believes can guide Argentina to World Cup glory by himself. The Spain manager has been giving his thoughts on his former player and has suggested Argentina are the favourites for Qatar 2022 (if his nation don’t claim the glory) because of the PSG sensation.
Speaking on Twitch, Enrique said: “If Spain doesn’t win the World Cup, I would like Argentina to win it because of Messi. It would be unfair for Messi to retire without winning a World Cup.”
All of Saudi Arabia’s squad play their football domestically. Their key players are all at peak age as well with their most selected players in 2022 being Yasser Al-Shahrani (29), Mohammed Al-Owais (30), Salman Al-Faraj (32), Salem Al-Dawsari (31) and Fahad Al Muwallad (27). The other issue for Saudi Arabia is scoring goals. Their recent scorelines could’ve been written in binary, the last 12 matches, and 14 of the past 15 matches, involving Saudi Arabia have finished 0-0, 1-0, 0-1 or 1-1. Argentina are unlikely to present Saudi Arabia enough chances to make much of an improvement on their scoring record here.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Argentina 3-0 Saudi Arabia
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia head-to-head
14 November 2012 – Saudi Arabia 0-0 Argentina – Friendly
20 October 1992 – Saudi Arabia 1-3 Argentina – Confederations Cup
16 July 1988 – Argentina 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Bicentennial Gold Cup
6 July 1988 – Argentina 2-2 Saudi Arabia – Bicentennial Gold Cup