Argentina will look to book their place in the quarter-finals stage of the FIFA World Cup when they take on Australia at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.
Venue: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (Al Rayyan)
Argentina have kept four clean sheets in their last five games.
They have scored 2+ goals in eight of their last ten games.
Argentina have lost just one of their last 38 games.
No side have been able to net first against Argentina since November 2020.
Australia have won seven of their last eight games.
They have five clean sheets in their last six games.
The Socceroos have scored in each of their World Cup game in Qatar.
Head to head
Argentina are unbeaten in four head-to-head meetings with Australia (W3, D1).
Latest performances in all competitions
Lionel Messi and co. followed up their 2-0 win over Mexico in the second game with another 22-0 win over Poland on Wednesday. In a must-win game at Stadium 974, Lionel Messi missed the opportunity to put Argentina 1-0 up in the first half when he missed a penalty–his second penalty miss in the World Cup.
But second-half goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez gave them maximum points and also secured the top spot for them in their group.
They will now look to build on these back-to-back wins and secure a win over an Australian side that are ranked 35 behind them by FIFA. A win in this game will give the Copa America holders a better outing than their 2018 appearance in Russia when they were beaten 4-3 by eventual winners, France.
Having already lost to a Saudi Arabia side that are also lowly ranked by FIFA, Lionel Scaloni will not take this tie lightly. The coach has already asked his men and fans not to get carried away.
“All the games are hard,” he said after the win over Poland.
“Anyone who thinks the match against Australia will be easy is wrong. We’re not favourites. If you think that just because we won today, we are going to become World Cup winners, you’re wrong.”
The coach also decried the fixture congestion, complaining of his team not having enough time to rest.
“I think it’s absolute madness to play in nearly two days and a bit when we are top of the group. I can’t understand it.”
Regardless of the conditions, Argentina will come into this tie as the favourites, given that they are unbeaten in four meetings with Australia (W3, D1).
Possible Argentina starting line-up
Emiliano Martinez, Gonzalo Montiel, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Acuna, Guido Rodriguez, Rodrigo De Paul, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Alexis Mac Allister, Lautaro Martinez.
Australia made history last Wednesday when they beat European heavyweights Denmark to seal their place in the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time since 2006, when they had Premier League trio Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, and Tim Cahill in the squad.
In a tense affair at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, the Socceroos survived an early first-half pressure for Denmark before scoring in the second half thanks to a fine goal by Mathew Leckie.
The result meant that Graham Arnold’s men qualified as Group D runner-ups ahead of Denmark and Tunisia, two sides currently ahead of them in FIFA rankings. They even finished level on points with group winners France but qualified as second because of a worse goal difference.
After the game, the coach said he was proud of his boys, suggesting that his men are the ‘new golden generation’ of Australian football.
“I’m just so proud and happy. This is what World Cups are for,” said the manager.
“When the Cricket World Cup is on, you don’t see Federation Square (in Melbourne) like it is and pubs like they are, or if it’s rugby union, rugby league or anything.
“The World Cup of football unites a nation and I’m just proud that we’ve been able to put smiles on people’s faces.
“It’s the first time ever that an Australian team has won two games at a World Cup in a row.
“Maybe we’re talking about a new golden generation now because we’ve been listening and hearing about the golden generation of 2006 that got four points and now we’ve got six, so maybe we’re talking about a new generation.
He will now hope his boys will keep their feet firmly on the ground as they take on an Argentina side that have lost just once in over two years.
Australia were beaten 1-0 by eventual winner Italy when they made the last 16 in 2006. But they will fancy their chances of putting on a good show here, after winning two in a row.
Possible Australia starting line-up
Matthew Ryan; Nathaniel Atkinson, Milos Degenek, Harry Souttar, Aziz Behich; Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy; Jamie Maclaren, Mitchell Duke, Mathew Leckie.
|Odds-Argentina||Odds-Australia||% Argentina||% Australia|
|In 90 mins||1.200||15.000||80.00||6.00|
Argentina 2-1 Australia