How qualified – Second in CONMEBOL group
Best performance – Winners 1978 & 1986
Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez, Geronimo Rulli, Franco Armani.
Defenders: Nahuel Molina, Gonzalo Montiel, Cristian Romero, German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Tagliafico, Juan Foyth.
Midfielders: Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Alexis Mac Allister, Guido Rodriguez, Papu Gomez, Enzo Fernandez, Exequiel Palacios.
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez, Paulo Dybala, Angel Correa, Thiago Almada.
How qualified – Won AFC Group B
Best performance – Last 16 1994
Goalkeepers: Mohamed Al-Owais, Nawaf Al-Aqidi, Mohamed Al-Yami
Defenders: Yasser Al-Shahrani, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Abdulelah Al-Amri, Abdullah Madu, Hassan Tambakti, Sultan Al-Ghanam, Mohammed Al-Breik, Saud Abdulhamid
Midfielders: Salman Al-Faraj, Riyadh Sharahili, Ali Al-Hassan, Mohamed Kanno, Abdulelah Al-Malki, Sami Al-Najei, Abdullah Otayf, Nasser Al-Dawsari , Abdulrahman Al-Aboud, Salem Al-Dawsari, Hattan Bahebri
Forwards: Haitham Asiri, Saleh Al-Shehri, Firas Al-Buraikan
How qualified – 2nd in CONCACAF
Best performance – QFs 1970 & 1986
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera, Rodolfo Cota
Defenders: Kevin Alvarez, Nestor Araujo, Gerardo Arteaga, Jesus Gallardo, Hector Moreno, Cesar Montes, Jorge Sanchez, Johan Vasquez
Midfielders: Edson Alvarez, Roberto Alvarado, Uriel Antuna, Luis Chavez, Andres Guardado, Erick Gutierrez, Hector Herrera, Orbelin Pineda, Carlos Rodriguez, Luis Romo
Forwards: Rogelio Funes Mori, Raul Jimenez, Hirving Lozano, Henry Martin, Alexis Vega
How qualified – Won UEFA Play-off
Best performance – 3rd 1974 & 1982
Goalkeepers: Wojciech Szczesny, Bartlomiej Dragowski, Lukasz Skorupski
Defenders: Jan Bednarek, Kamil Glik, Robert Gumny, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Jakub Kiwior, Mateusz Wieteska, Bartosz Bereszynski, Matthew Cash, Nicola Zalewski
Midfielders: Krystian Bielik, Przemyslaw Frankowski , Kamil Grosicki, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jakub Kaminski, Michal Skoras, Damian Szymanski, Sebastian Szymanski, Piotr Zielinski, Szymon Zurkowski
Forwards: Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Krzysztof Piatek, Karol Swiderski
Tuesday 22 November
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia – 10am – ITV
Mexico vs Poland – 4pm – BBC
Saturday 26 November
Poland vs Saudi Arabia – 1pm – ITV
Argentina vs Mexico – 7pm – ITV
Wednesday 30 November
Poland vs Argentina – 7pm – BBC
Saudi Arabia vs Mexico – 7pm – BBC
Argentina are the favourites for the tournament in the eyes of a number of people and if they are going to justify those predictions then you would imagine they will be expected to cruise through Group C. The Copa America champions look a cut above but don’t always deliver the goods when they are expected to. The Gold Cup finalists Mexico will be expected to follow them through to the next stage while Poland, so often underachievers in tournament football, will be the biggest danger to the pair. Saudi Arabia are relatively local to Qatar and will look to use familiar conditions to their advantage as they seek a major upset.
I think the shape of this group could be determined on the opening day of it as I expect Argentina to dominate it and then the result of the match between Mexico and Poland could very well determine who will follow them through to the knockout stage of the competition. If that match is a draw then you would think the second spot will be determined by who beats Saudi Arabia the most and who keeps Argentina in check for the longest. Given that Mexico dominate the ball under Tata Martino I fancy it will be them who edge out Poland and the 2/1 on an Argentina-Mexico straight forecast looks a fair bet to me.
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There is only one bet I like in the team betting in this group and that comes in the form of the Argentina team goals. They have a line of 9.5 but there is a good chance that they will knock off a huge chunk of that in their opening game against Saudi Arabia. That doesn’t mean that Saudi Arabia will be making up the numbers but the Asian teams in the opening two groups have already been taken apart and no team on show so far have the attacking depth Argentina have.
If they can put three or more past Saudi Arabia and Argentina make it through to the semi-finals then they would only need to average a goal per game for the remainder of the tournament and you’ve got to think that the likes of Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Angel di Maria and the support cast are able to cover that. It might be that they go mental on Saudi Arabia in which case we could have this bet in before we get to the latter stages of the tournament. Either way, over 9.5 goals looks well within their range.
Back Argentina-Mexico Straight Forecast for a 2/10 stake at 3.00 with William Hill
Back it here:
Back Argentina – Over 9.5 tournament goals for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with Bet365