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MANAGER: Lionel Scaloni
QUALIFICATION RECORD: The reigning Copa America champions breezed through comfortably under former West Ham defender Lionel Scaloni, finishing second to Brazil. They scored 27 goals and conceded just eight in 17 games. Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez and Lionel Messi both scored seven goals each in the campaign.
KEY MAN: Lionel Messi
ONE TO WATCH: Lautaro Martinez
TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: Should win a kind-looking group and then tackle Denmark in the Last 16, before potentially meeting the Netherlands in the quarter-finals, who are on a 15-game unbeaten run. Brazil or France will then likely await in the latter stages of the competition. They’ve a great mix of youthfulness, talent and experience, however, the semi-finals could be Argentina’s limit.
TRADER TIPS: Stage of elimination – Semi Final.
MANAGER: Hervé Renard
QUALIFICATION RECORD: Suffered just one defeat in 10 qualifying matches, which can be put down to their solid defence that conceded just six goals, ensuring they finished ahead of Japan and Australia.
KEY MAN: Salem Al Dawsari
ONE TO WATCH: Saleh Al Sheri
TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: They may not concede many, but the Saudis struggle scoring too. Argentina and Poland should have little trouble picking up wins so by the time they get to their last, and arguably most manageable, game against Mexico they will most likely already be on their way home. Expect the Saudis to finish bottom of the group.
TRADER TIPS: Double Chance – Saudi Arabia to Win or Draw v Mexico.
MANAGER: Gerardo “Tata” Martinez
QUALIFICATION RECORD: Finished second in North & Central America, losing out on goal difference to table toppers Canada. Scored only 17 goals in 14 qualifying games, way behind Canada (23) and USA (21), but conceded eight, which was the second-best record in the eight-team group.
KEY MAN: Hector Herrera
ONE TO WATCH: Hirving Lozano
TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: El Tri struggle for consistency and have lost every time they’ve played a quality team. Argentina are a bit of a bogey team for them, and a Robert Lewandowski inspired Poland may just pip them to second in the group. They could beat Saudi Arabia, but with their stubborn defence don’t be so sure.
TRADER TIPS: Stage of elimination – Group Stage.
MANAGER: Czesław Michniewicz
QUALIFICATION RECORD: Finished second behind England, netting a whopping 30 goals along the way, then comfortably beat Sweden in the playoffs.
KEY MAN: Robert Lewandowski
ONE TO WATCH: Matty Cash
TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: Failed to advance from the group stage in Euro 2020 despite an impressive draw against eventual semi-finalists Spain, but will be confident of putting goals past Saudi Arabia and getting points off Mexico. Should they earn even a draw against the latter, they may come up against an already-qualified Argentina on the final matchday who could use the opportunity to rest players ahead of the knockout stage. Of course, all eyes will be on captain Robert Lewandowski, one of the world’s greatest goal scorers for the last decade.
TRADER TIPS: Poland v Saudi Arabia – Over 3.5 Goals.
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