Argentina vs Saudi Arabia
I hope you’re ready for early midweek football. Argentina will take on the Saudis from 10am on Tuesday morning so this one gets started early door.
The predicted line-up for Argentina is enough to make your mouth water. Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria should lead the line. There were 18 goal contributions between them during World Cup qualifying, Messi and Martinez each providing 7 goals.
Along with rivals Brazil, Argentina came through their World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten after 17 matches. They’re massive odds-on favourites against minnows Saudi and it’s hardly a surprise.
If you’d like to hear some interesting stats, let’s start with this. Argentina last suffered defeat when they were beaten 1-0 by Brazil back in July 2019. Since then, they’ve gone on an incredible 36 matches unbeaten.
Argentina come into the Saudi Arabia game having won their last five matches, keeping five successive clean sheets, and scoring a massive 16 goals without reply.
Argentina averaged 4.59 corners per 90 minutes in qualifying which sounds quite low for a nation of their stature. However South American qualifying is arguably the toughest campaign around, when you think of the likes of Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and more.
Messi’s side come into this on the back of a 5-0 win over the United Arab Emirates. They led 4-0 at half-time, and the good news is that they won both halves and took more corners in both halves. I’d feel more comfortable comparing the Saudi’s to the UAE than the likes of Brazil and Uruguay when it comes to footballing ability.
France vs Australia
France take on the Aussies in Tuesday’s later game and it’s another David vs Goliath clash in Qatar. This market I’ve chosen for the bet is absolutely perfect for these scenarios.
The French have won 6 of their last 7 matches at the World Cup, and even without their Ballon D’or winning Karim Benzema, I still expect them to put on a show against players from the A-League and Scottish Premiership.
France are expected to line-up with Mbappe, Giroud and Griezmann in attack. Not bad, not bad.
France averaged 2.25 goals per 90 minutes during qualifying, slightly outperforming their expected goals.
France averaged 6.50 corners per game during World Cup qualifying, and you’d suspect a similar amount recorded against Australia would be enough to take the most in each half.
France’s form was wobbly during the Nations League, but one thing they did do was take a lot of corners throughout. So the totals taken by themselves in their last five matches were 11, 4, 7, 10 and 6.