The Last Dance
Last year, Lionel Messi led Argentina to the Copa America title, the team’s first major title since 1993. Now, La Pulga is determined to conquer the 2022 World Cup, which would be Argentina’s third. The last one was in 1986 with Diego Maradona as the Most Valuable Player.
First, La Albiceleste will have to make it out of Group C, in which they’ll face Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Messi doesn’t have good memories of facing Robert Lewandowski, and Mexico is managed by an old friend, but that doesn’t change the fact that La Albiceleste comes in as the betting online favorite to finish atop the standings.
Mexico finished the CONCACAF qualifiers in second place thanks to an 8-4-2 record, same as Canada, but the Reds scored six more goals. This will be the 17th World Cup for El Tri and the eighth in a row. They’re currently offering a +500 price in the sportsbook to win the group, but keep in mind that they’ve advanced to the Round of 16 in each of the last seven editions.
As if that wasn’t enough, their head coach is Gerardo Martino, also known as El Tata. He coached Argentina from 2014 to 2016, meaning he knows Messi and some other players pretty well. Last but not least, Mexico’s roster includes plenty of talented players such as Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez, Edson Alvarez and Nestor Araujo, to name a few. If you were looking for a Group Stage underdog to include in your betting ticket, Mexico could be the answer.
Of course, we’ve got to talk about Lewandowski, arguably the best center-striker in the World Cup thanks to Erling Haaland’s absence. Since the 2014-15 season, Lewandowski has scored 17-plus goals per season. He has played 134 games for Poland, scoring 76 goals, more than any other player in team history.
The thing is, the Eagles are much more than Lewandowski. There are also Wojciech Szczesny, Nicola Zalewski, Piotr Zielinski and Arkadiusz Milik. In other words, we’re talking about a well-balanced team, which, by the way, is offering a +400 price to win the group.
Poland’s first match will be against Mexico. The winner will become the soccer betting favorite to finish as the runner-up.
This is it. Messi’s last chance to win the WC, same as Cristiano Ronaldo. Argentina is highly motivated after winning the Copa America and finishing the WC qualifiers undefeated thanks to an 11-6-0 record. Plus, they scored 27 goals and allowed only eight.
Messi will be accompanied by Lisandro Martinez, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez, to name a few. Basically, the same team that pulled off the stunner in the Copa America. Brazil was the favorite due to being the host.
Their last trip to the WC Grand Finale was in 2014, losing 1-0 to Germany. This time, the road to the final will begin on Nov. 22 against Saudi Arabia. Besides winning, Argentina will try to score as many goals as possible. Argentina is offering a -250 price to win the group, while Messi is offering a +1600 to win the Golden Boot.
As expected, Saudi Arabia is offering a +2000 price to win the group. In other words, their chances are minimal. This will be the sixth WC for the Green Falcons, who’ve advanced to the Round of 16 only once, in 1994. Since then, their best result has been finishing 26.
The Green Falcons finished the qualifiers 13-4-1. They scored 34 goals and allowed only 10. Very good numbers, but they’ll meet much more complicated opponents in the WC. Facing Argentina is not the same as facing Oman.
Argentina isn’t only the favorite to win Group C. La Albiceleste is also among the favorites to dethrone France at +500. In fact, only Brazil is ahead of them at +400. That being said, the South Americans shouldn’t have too much trouble winning Group C. Messi is getting all the highlights, but Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez are two very good strikers, enough to carry the team if necessary.
As for second place, I’m going with Mexico. Martino is one of the best coaches in the WC, and this group of players have been together for a long time. Poland will put up a good fight, but not enough to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time since 1986.