Argentina’s World Cup challenge begins against Bosnia tonight in the Maracana and hopes will be high that the Albiceste can return there in just over a month’s time for the final.
And realistically so, given the balance of their side, makeup of their attack, and international form which sees them hitting fever pitch here just in time for the tournament.
Argentina have what could arguably be called their hardest game of the group – after all Bosnia are 19 places ahead of FIFA on the rankings – but results suggest that they’re well equipped to get off to a flyer here. Argentina were the only side to beat Colombia away from home in qualifying and also did the double over Chile, no mean feat considering the impressive progress of Jorge Sampoli’s side over the past two years.
Infact, Argentina have lost just one of their previous 19 fixtures – and that was a 3-2 defeat at Uruguay when the manager played an experimental XI, with qualification having been long assured, and their 35 goals in South America qualifying was 5 more than anyone else could manage
Bosnia themselves have met Argentina, losing 2-0 in a friendly in St Louis last year that was closer than the scoreline would suggest.
They are having their first game at the World Cup but have warmed up in perfectly fine style as they beat Mexico and the Ivory Coast 1-0 and 2-1 in recent weeks. The pair of games at a high standard should have helped them and in the striker partnership of Edin Dzeko and Stuttgart’s, Vedad Ibisevic, they have a fine attacking option as shown when the pair netted 18 goals in qualifying between them.
And with Argentina themselves not having an uber tight defence – they did concede 15 goals in 16 qualifying matches – scoring is not beyond the impressive side here by any means. That said, the difficulty will be holding out against the super impressive attacking force Argentina have. Di Maria, Messi and Aguero all bring stacks of pace and movement to an attack any country would have a hard time stopping. Over 2.5 goals is 8/13 and that’s a fair price but maybe Argentina to win without a clean sheet is the bet.
1 pt Argentina to win without a clean sheet (9/4 Youwin)