Amongst the pre-tournament favourites, Argentina had a largely underwhelming group stage and only scraped through on matchday three. They will face a surprisingly effective Australian side who finished level on points with France in their group.
Argentina’s pre-tournament hype, however, was quickly forgotten when they lost their opening game to Saudi Arabia before subsequent victories over Poland and Mexico saw them through. Australia, much like the Argentines got off to the worst start as they lost their opening game 4-1 to France. However, the two victories that followed have been historic for the Socceroos and this tie promises to be an electric one, will the underdogs prevail?
Team News: We expect Argentina to make a few changes from their previous win, due to the rapid turnover in games, which could see Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez come back into contention. Enzo Fernandez looks set to keep his place due to his breakthrough performances so far at the tournament. Australia have no injury concerns, however expect a change at right back as Graham Arnold seems unable to settle on who should be first choice in that position.
Argentina predicted XI | E. Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Romero, Tagliafico; Mac Allister, Fernandez, De Paul; Alvarez, Messi, Di Maria.
Australia predicted XI | Ryan; Karacic, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; Mooy; Leckie, Irvine, McGree, Goodwin; Duke.
Prediction | Argentina 1-1 Australia (Australia wins on pens); While this prediction could be completely off the mark, there’s something about a committed, hungry Australia in this tournament. That combined with the fact Argentina haven’t looked impressive, this could a great chance for the Socceroos to progress to the quarter-finals.
Jonathan Maze | GWFN