FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 : Argentina vs Australia Match Preview and Lineups

Argentina vs Australia
GAME Argentina vs Australia
DATE 04/12/2022
TIME 12:30 AM (Indian Standard Time)
ARENA Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
LEAGUE FIFA World Cup 2022
Argentina [2-1] Australia

Match Preview of Argentina vs Australia

After escaping their groups in dramatic circumstances, just three days later Argentina and last-16 opponents Australia meet at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday.

Both nations' World Cup adventures now continue into the knockout stages, following the Albiceleste's recovery from a shock opening loss to Saudi Arabia and the Socceroos' defeat of Denmark in midweek.

Having overcome a faltering start to their latest World Cup campaign, an Argentina squad fuelled by a hard-fought victory over Mexico in their second Group C fixture secured a spot in the last 16 by bettering a limited Poland side on Wednesday.

The South American champions saw talisman Lionel Messi spurn the chance to open the scoring from a contentious first-half penalty, but were ultimately rewarded for 90 minutes of dominance by leapfrogging their European opponents at the top of the group standings.

After Alexis Mac Allister - who had been promoted to the starting lineup as one of a handful of changes made by coach Lionel Scaloni - made the breakthrough only seconds after the interval, a 67th-minute strike from Julian Alvarez helped the Albiceleste to post a second successive 2-0 win.

As a result, for the 11th time in the last 12 finals the two-time world champions have progressed to the knockout phase, and they remain among many pundits' favourites to lift the World Cup trophy later this month.

While conditions will be the same for both his team and their next opponents, Scaloni has bemoaned the fact they will return to action after just over two days rest - particularly having followed such an emotionally draining route to the top of Group C. However, he knows that no excuses will be accepted by an expectant public back home in Argentina.

To combat concerns about fatigue, the Copa America-winning coach can call upon several talented players to have emerged from the fringes of his squad, such as Mac Allister, Alvarez and Benfica's Enzo Fernandez, though of course Messi still shoulders much of the creative burden.

Argentina's irreplaceable playmaker will surely be integral again, as they attempt to set up a quarter-final with either the Netherlands or United States, but he will need plenty of help from the supporting cast that put on a 36-game unbeaten streak only ended last week.

Our Predicted Lineups

Argentina possible starting lineup:E. Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Romero, Tagliafico; Mac Allister, Fernandez, De Paul; Alvarez, Messi, Di Maria

Australia possible starting lineup: starting lineup:Ryan; Karacic, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; Mooy; Leckie, Irvine, McGree, Goodwin; Duke

Who will win the match?

We say: Argentina 2-0 Australia. Having avoided facing the reigning champions by topping Group C, Argentina will be determined to take advantage of their re-found form and fluency to reach the quarter-finals. While a plucky Australia side can keep them at bay for certain spells, if the Albiceleste demonstrate their undoubted quality in the final third there should surely be only one winner.

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