Argentina vs. Australia prediction, odds, betting tips and best bets for Lionel Messi in World Cup 2022 Round of 16 – Sporting News

Argentina have shaken off the opening round shocker to Saudi Arabia and are now ready to push through the knockout stage, hoping to provide Lionel Messi with an elusive World Cup title in what is expected to be his swansong tournament.
Still, they’ll have to get past a plucky Australia side that shocked Denmark in the group stage finale to secure progression to just their second-ever World Cup knockout game.
The Socceroos will hope it goes better than last time they were here, as they were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion back in 2006 by eventual champions Italy. The Italians were a man down after Marco Materazi was sent off just after halftime, but they hung on until Francesco Totti scored a 96th minute penalty to send them through to the quarterfinals.
With Aussie fans still on a high from the scenes against Denmark, they’ll have to regroup and push forward hoping lightning can indeed strike twice against Argentina to follow in Saudi Arabia’s footsteps and ruin Messi’s going away party.
MORE: Follow all 2022 FIFA World Cup daily picks & predictions from The Sporting News here
Argentina are understandably heavy favorites here, with Australia being pummeled by France 4-1 in their only group stage match against a truly elite team. Argentina weren’t exactly pretty through the group stage, but when have they been in recent memory? This Argentina side excels at finding ways to win when they don’t have their best.
The Socceroos managed to find a goal in all three of their group games, but are still expected to fall short here, with the “no” result on both teams to score sporting a massive -250 swing.
Odds via BetMGM (USA), Sports Interaction (Canada), SkyBet (UK), and Ladbrokes (Australia).
A reminder: All moneyline bets in soccer are for regulation only, regardless of competition. If the match requires a winner and goes to extra-time or penalties, a moneyline bet of a regulation draw is successful and the rest of play does not factor in.
The biggest concern for Argentina is to the fitness of 34-year-old Angel Di Maria who had a recent injury scare, but scans reportedly showed no specific muscular issue, with his discomfort chalked up to fatigue, meaning he could be sat for this match. Otherwise, there are no injuries to worry about concerning players on the roster. The Argentina attack does clearly, however, miss Giovanni Lo Celso who was unable to prove fit after a torn quad in late October. It’s likely that Alexis Mac Allister has earned another start in midfield after scoring against Poland amidst a great performance.
Australia have no injury worries to deal with. The only concern is to defender Bailey Wright whose mother-in-law passed away shortly after the win over Denmark, but he was seen in training and should be ready to suit up. Head coach Graham Arnold has deployed three different right-backs in the three group stage matches, but is likely to stick with Columbus Crew man Milos Degenek who was excellent last time out.
MORE: Full injury tracker for all 32 teams at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
It’s just really, really tough to see Australia have any way through here. Argentina will be wary of the Socceroos, especially after the opening loss to Saudi Arabia that will have the Albiceleste on high alert for underestimating any more lesser opponents.
Argentina have conceded just 0.74 expected goals through three matches, the second-lowest total of the tournament behind only Brazil, who sit on 0.48 through two group stage matches. Australia, mind you, have scored their three goals on just 1.73 xG, so they’re happy to finish difficult chances, but even those will be few and far between here. With Messi pulling the strings, even one goal should be enough to see Argentina advance.
MORE: How to watch Argentina vs. Australia in World Cup Round of 16 play
The odds on everything in this match are so wildly swung towards Argentina that’s its extremely difficult to find good value openings. So as a result, we’ve had to make a large leap just to find plus odds.
Here, we’ve built a parlay that’s essentially calling for Argentina to win either 1-0 or 2-0. It’s extremely tough to see Australia scoring in this match, and Argentina should advance comfortably. That said, La Albiceleste are not a team to run up the score like France did against Australia. They’ll look to shut it down after getting a goal or two, knowing they should be comfortable.
Additionally, Argentina are exhausted after a grueling group stage, and won’t want to empty the tank just to pick out a third or fourth goal. Instead, with such a daunting potential road ahead, they should shut up shop once a lead is gained.
Still, this is a worrying pick, as there’s not much room for error should Australia snatch a goal or Argentina really pour on the pressure. This is the extreme difficulty of betting the World Cup! The odds are so watered down by massive volume, as books don’t need to entice fans to place bets, so finding value is extremely difficult.
This Round of 16 clash will be played at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Here’s how you can watch all the action in some of the major global territories.


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