Argentina – Group D – Overview and Argentina betting tips
Argentina left it late but managed to secure their place as a World Cup 2018 participant largely thanks to key man Lionel Messi and the footballing-mad nation will be eagerly anticipating the tournament even if they’ve had mixed results since.
Jorge Sampaoli is the man tasked with winning Argentina their third FIFA World Cup and he has already shown he is perfectly capable of making big decisions ahead of the crucial month ahead.
Here at OpenOdds we are going to provide you with everything you need to know about the Argentina side, their key men, the manager and their opponents in Russia. As well as that, we will give you a selection of our best Argentina betting odds so you can hopefully make some money on their World Cup adventure.
Argentina prediction: How well will they do?
It’s hard to predict how well Argentina will do, as despite the quality they have in their squad, the results haven’t matched up.
They made extremely hard work of qualifying from the CONMEBOL section as we will cover later and a humbling 6-1 friendly defeat to Spain recently suggests they are a long way from the real elite countries, although they were missing Messi that night.
Nevertheless, as always, Argentina will go to the World Cup with the expectancy of winning the tournament but it’s fair to say they could’ve had an easier group.
They have been drawn alongside Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland, with the latter taking part in their first ever World Cup.
Clearly, Croatia pose the biggest threat, with the European side a very talented outfit, boasting the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in midfield.
However, Argentina will be expected to win the group and that seems a good bet, with the best odds available currently 7/10 with Marathon Bet.
The importance of winning the group cannot be underestimated, as whoever finishes second in Group D is likely to face France in the last 16, something that Argentina will be desperate to avoid.
It’s tough to say who they will end up with in the quarter-final but that will be the minimum expectation for the South Americans.
At that stage of the tournament fine margins can dictate games, with a moment of brilliance by an individual enough to turn a game in your favour. In that sense, nobody can match Argentina, who boast Lionel Messi in their ranks.
And, simply having the Barcelona genius in their squad makes the 10/1 Betway are offering on his side to win the World Cup look very appealing to many.
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Journey to the World Cup — Who did Argentina beat to qualify?
As mentioned, Argentina made very, very hard work of qualifying for the World Cup and it’s down to one man that they managed to avoid the unthinkable – Lionel Messi.
Sampaoli’s men went into the last round of matches knowing that they needed a win to guarantee a place at Russia, although they faced a tricky task away to Ecuador at altitude.
They started disastrously, going down a goal after just one minute before Messi took over. He scored a hat-trick to ensure a safe passage to the World Cup.
His importance to the side was highlighted through that campaign. The 30-year old missed a few matches after initially retiring whilst he was also suspended after returning to the side. Without the Barcelona man Argentina severely struggled and they will need him fit and firing to stand any chance this summer if that is anything to go by.
In the end, they finished third in the qualifiers and to be fair unlike UEFA, CAF, CONCACAF and AFC qualifying, the South American section is extremely difficult, as proven by the fact Chile didn’t make it.
Best players for Argentina: Who should you be betting on?
As you will have already gathered and any football fan would already know, Messi is the star man for this Argentina team with a lot of responsibility resting on his shoulders.
Whether he should be under such pressure is open to debate, Argentina have a very talented squad, particularly in the final third but over the years the players have often failed to deliver when it really matters.
Such talent was evident when Sampaoli left out Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala for the recent friendly matches, with the pair two of the better players in Serie A. However, the manager is trying to find the right balance and more importantly to play in a way and style that can bring the best out of Messi.
With that in mind, he has to be under serious consideration for any punters looking for the top goalscorer market. Messi is the current favourite in the bookmaker odds, with SkyBet offering a best priced 10/1.
Importantly for that market, he will also take all of Argentina’s free-kicks and penalties which could make the difference. He has been particularly devastating from free-kicks in La Liga this season.
Additionally, Sampaoli is a coach that looks to attack and if things do click for Argentina, Messi will be at the heart of it, so it’s easy to see why he is favourite to be top scorer.
As mentioned, he is by no means the only attacking option for Sampaoli, with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain two excellent number nines that will be in front of Messi in the formation.
It’s unclear who will start the first game but whoever does could be worth a bet for top goalscorer as well, as they’re likely to be given a lot of chances in this team, even if they’ve struggled to be clinical for their country in the past.
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Who manages Argentina?
Jorge Sampaoli is the national team boss, who was born in Santa Fe, however he didn’t make his name managing his own country.
Instead, most football fans will remember Sampaoli for his work with Chile from 2012 where he created a side that was arguably the most attractive country to watch in the world.
They played with real pace, intensity and boldness, setting out to dominate the ball and win games. And, it paid off, with Chile winning the 2015 Copa America – against Argentina.
Prior to that he had coached in club football at various clubs in South America, whilst he had a season at Sevilla after leaving Chile.
However, after Argentina had gone through several managers and with qualification for the World Cup in doubt, they turned to Sampaoli, who gladly took over.
He has had minimal time to make an impact with Argentina, and his record is mixed but fans will hope that since qualification was confirmed he will have been able to get his ideas across, although only time will tell.
Why bet on Argentina?
If you’re not feeling patriotic enough to look for England to win World Cup odds, then Argentina may be the next best choice. And, if Messi isn’t enough to convince you to bet on them for glory at Russia then nobody can be.
In all seriousness, there are some clear flaws with this Argentina side, particularly defensively and unless Sampaoli has managed to find a formula that works, they could get shown up towards the latter stages of the tournament.
Yet, the excitement will be around if he does manage to get them going because they have good players all over the field and then a star man who can make a difference. If it all comes together this World Cup 2018 Argentina team could lift the trophy.
Best Odds Available at Coral