Day #3 World Cup
World Cup Day 3. Previews and Betting Tips
We take a look at a packed match day with contenders Argentina in action earlier in the day and defending champions France playing later in the day as they look to avoid a repeat of the 2002 opening match fiasco. Here is a preview of the matches and betting tips.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia
Argentina and one of football’s greatest players ever begin their quest for World glory on Tuesday when they take on Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium.
While Argentina have lifted the World Cup trophy twice, it is the one accolade that has evaded Lionel Messi in his highly decorated career and at 35 years old, it could be his last opportunity to do so.
Saudi Arabia will be looking to avoid the sort of start they had to the World Cup last time when they were defeated 5-0 by the hosts Russia.
Saudi Arabia’s best World Cup appearance was in 1994 when they progressed to the last-16 of the tournament, they arrive in Qatar on a poor run of games with only two wins in their last 10 matches.
Argentina are the defending Copa America Champions and are on a 36-match unbeaten streak that stretches as far back as July 2019 when they lost in the Copa America semifinals to Brazil.
They won their last three pre-World Cup friendlies without conceding and scored 11 goals over those matches, the last of which was a 5-0 win over UAE.
Saudi Arabia had a strong qualification campaign finishing above Japan in their group but have struggled in friendly matches played in preparation for the World Cup, winning only 2 of their last 10 matches.
There were some concerns about the fitness of Lionel Messi when news broke that he was training alone, however, he has since been pictured training with the squad. There could be squad rotation by Lionel Scaloni to give some players a rest because of their hectic club schedules, otherwise he has a fully fit squad to select from
Potential Argentina starting XI: E. Martinez; Molina, Romero, Utamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Paredes, Mac Allister; Messi, L. Martinez, Di Maria
Fahad Al-Muwallad is out of the squad after failing a drugs test, while midfielder Riyadh Sharahili and defender Hassan Tambakti could both miss the match with injuries
The rest of the team picks itself with Salem Al-Dawsari on the left flank and Saleh Al-Shehri on the opposite flank.
Potential Saudi Arabia starting XI: AAl-Owais; Al-Burayk, Al-Amri, Al-Bulahyi, Al-Shahrani; Kanno, Al-Malki; Al-Shehri, Al-Faraj, Al-Daswari; Al-Buraikan
While Saudi Arabia have not won many matches lately, they have also conceded few goals. Worryingly, they have not scored more than once in their last 10 matches.
However, they face a different level of competition when they play Argentina, any result other than an Argentina win will be a huge upset, but is unlikely even if Lionel Scaloni elects to rest some of his key players, the gulf in quality between the two teams is just too much for Saudi Arabia to surmount.
- Argentina to win @ 1.20
- Over 2.5 goals @ 1.69
- Argentina to win either halves @ 1.10
France vs Australia
France take on Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium as they start the campaign to be the first team to defend a World Cup title since Brazil did so 60 years ago.
Les Bleus have had injury struggles and come into this competition on the back of an uncharacteristically poor showing at the Nations League.
Australia made it to Qatar in rather dramatic fashion, needing penalty heroics from substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne in their playoff win against Peru. They are the minnows in a group that has Denmark and Tunisia, but could take confidence in the poor record defending champions have in their opening World Cup matches.
Germany, Spain and Italy all exited in the group stage as defending champions, and not since Brazil in 2006, have the defending champions won their opening match.
France’s form has been questionable coming into the tournament. There have been injuries to key players and off-field scandals, all of which have distracted from the fantastic quality the team possesses.
They have had only one win from their last six matches, a 2-0 home victory against Austria in the UEFA Nations League.
After qualifying for the tournament by beating Peru on penalties, Australia have recorded two wins in friendlies played against New Zealand.
The World Cup will be a different challenge, Australia did not make it out of the group stage in four of their five previous appearances, progressing only in 2006.
N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba were integral pieces of the World Cup winning team in Russia, both midfielders were not named in the squad due to injury. While Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema have had to leave the squad because of injuries.
Didier Deschamps did not call up a replacement for Benzema and will rely on Olivier Giroud to fill in.
Potential France starting XI: Lloris; Pavard, Upamecano, Konate, Lucas Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
Martin Boyle is not training with the team because of a knee injury and might not be available for Tuesday’s game. Marco Tilio could be a replacement if Boyle isn’t fit enough to play.
Harry Souttar could take part despite not getting any matchday action since having surgery for an ACL injury.
Potential Australia starting XI:
Ryan; Atkinson, Wright, Rowles, Behich; Hrustic, Mooy, Irvine; Leckie, Duke, Good.
Australia could take advantage of France’s poor form, injuries and pressure of being defending champions. However, Didier Descahmps has been here before and despite injuries to ke players, still has one of the most talented squads at the tournament. Australia squeaked through qualification and could find the level of competition beyond them on Tuesday.
- France to win @ 1.28
- Under 2.5 goals @ 2.17
- Over 9.5 corners @ 1.60
- Over 4.5 bookings @ 3.30
Denmark vs Tunisia
Denmark qualified for their sixth World Cup appearance in style winning nine out of ten matches and conceding only three goals to finish top of the group. They will start their campaign against Tunisia with hopes of qualifying out of a group that also includes defending champions France.
Tunisia have the second most World Cup appearances by an African team alongside Morocco and Nigeria but unlike those two other teams, they are yet to make it past the group stage of the tournament. This year’s competition presents a difficult challenge; they are grouped together with Denmark who they kick start their campaign against, with France and Australia completing the other teams.
Denmark’s last match was a 2-0 win over France in the Nations League. They breezed through qualifying, winning their first nine games and did not concede a goal in their first eight
Tunisia saw off Iran 2-0 in their final warm-up match before the World Cup, a morale-boosting victory after they suffered a brutal 5-1 loss to Brazil in September.
They finished top of Group B in the World Cup qualifiers with 13 points from six matches and went on to beat Mali 1-0 on aggregate in the playoffs.
Christain Eriksen has made a wonderful recovery to professional football after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch at the EURO 2020 tournament. He and Pierre Emile-Hojberg will be the key to the Danish midfield. Martin Braithwaite has three goals in La Liga but will expect to do better playing for the national team
Potential Denmark starting XI: Schmeichel, Andersen, Kjaer, Christensen; Wass, Delaney, Hojbjerg, Maehle; Eriksen; Braithwaite, Dolberg.
Montpellier forward Wahbi Khazri has been the man in form for Tunisia. He has helped with two goals, two assists in the last World Cup and also had two goals and one assist at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.
Potential Tunisia starting XI: Ben Said, Drager, Ifa, Talbi, Maaloul; Skhiri, Laidouni, Slimane; Khazri, Jaziri, Msakni.
Tunisia’s record against European teams at the World Cup has been rather poor. They are yet to beat a European team in 10 attempts, losing 7 and drawing three.
Denmark on the other hand, are yet to lose to an African team at the World Cup, winning two and drawing two. On the strength of the current squads, Denmark have better momentum, they beat France twice in the UEFA Nations League and were semifinalists in the European Championship.
They have the joint-best defensive record in the European qualifiers for the World Cup, conceding just three goals. They will be looking to lay down the marker when they start the tournament on Wednesday.
- Denmark to win @ 1.59
- Under 2.5 goals @ 1.64
- Denmark win or draw @ 1.10
Mexico vs Poland
Mexico face Poland in their Group C fixture on Tuesday at Stadium 974. Both teams will want to get off to a winning start, knowing three points on the day will put them in a great position to make it to the next round, especially with Argentina one of the other teams in the group.
Poland and Mexico have met eight times before now and the spoils are evenly divided so far, each team has won three games, with two matches ending in a draw.
However, Poland have not beaten Mexico in their last five attempts and have lost three out of the five.
Mexico qualified for the World Cup with a 2-0 win against El Salvador on the final matchday, finishing level on points with Canada at the top of CONCACAF qualifying.
They have had mixed results in friendlies leading up to the tournament, losing to Paraguay, Colombia and Sweden. They however beat Peru and Iraq.
They should be confident against Poland though, they have won their opening match in five of their past six World Cup tournaments.
Poland finished in second place in their World Cup qualification group behind Serbia with five wins, two draws and one defeat. They have a solid team and were victorious over Chile in their final preparatory friendly.
Raul Jimenez featured in the 2-1 loss to Sweden, his first appearance since August. Jimenez had not played since August due to a groin injury which made his involvement against Poland on Tuesday unlikely.
Potential Mexico starting XI: Ochoa; Sanchez, Montes, Moreno, Gallardo; Alvarez, Herrera, Guardado; Lozano, Martin, Vega
Bartlomiej Dragowski, Jacek Goralski and Adam Buksa have had to withdraw from the Polish squad due to injury.
While Matty Cash should be available to play despite dealing with a shoulder injury.
Potential Poland starting XI:
Szczesny; Bednarek, Glik, Kiwior; Bereszynski, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Szymanski, Zalewski; Swiderski, Lewandowski
Mexico have World Cup pedigree, they have won the highest number of matches at the World Cup without reaching the finals. Once again they are in a group where they are likely to overachieve by reaching the round of 16. However, they will have to be excellent against a Poland side that has Robert Lewandowski. The Barcelona striker is raring to get on the scoresheet after failing to do so in Russia 4 years ago. This will be a game of slim margins with either side capable of taking all three points.
- Ends in a draw @ 3.02
- Both teams score @ 1.98
- Under 4.5 bookings @ 1.47
/ 8 months ago
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