The South American nation are one of the favourites to lift the trophy
Just when you think there is nothing else that can be said about Lionel Messi, he leaves our collective jaws on the floor all over again. Even at the age of 35, the Paris Saint-Germain maestro still provides us with those magical moments that have become his hallmark over the years. The most recent in his long list of incredible moments came in Argentina’s second game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Mexico. Oddschecker, which compares odds and offers on the World Cup, had made the Albicelestes the favourites for victory against El Tri. Still, with just over an hour on the clock, the reigning champions of South America were teetering on the brink of elimination.
But as he often has throughout his 17-year career at the beautiful game’s mountaintop, the seven-time Balon d’Or winner dragged his team out of the fire. With 65 minutes on the clock, he fired in a 25-yard blockbuster that left Mexico’s keeper Guillermo Ochoa stranded and sent Messi deliriously charging toward his adoring public. Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez would add a second late goal to secure a 2-0 victory and ensure his nation’s second-round hopes are well and truly intact.
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The performance was far from vintage Argentina, but it leaves memories of their shocking opening-day defeat to lowly Saudi Arabia firmly in the rearview mirror. With that being said, progression is still not yet secured, and Group C remains wide open, with all four teams capable of qualifying for the second round. Argentina knows, however, that if they beat Robert Lewandowksi’s Poland, they will top the group. And that’s exactly what we expect them to do. With that being said, let’s plot their potential route to the final.
Denmark – Last 16
The Danes haven’t impressed in Qatar as many thought they would. They reached the semifinals of last summer’s European Championships and topped a UEFA Nations League group containing France – whom they beat home and away – and Croatia. At the World Cup, however, they are still without a win. They could only manage a goalless draw with Tunisia before losing against Les Bleus in their second game. They know, however, that victory over Australia in their final game will see them progress to the second round as runners-up in Group D.
The Netherlands – Quarterfinals
The Netherlands shockingly didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years ago, but before that reached the semifinals in 2014 and the final in 2010. So far in Qatar, they beat African Champions Senegal in their opening game, before stumbling to a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in their second. With Qatar awaiting in their final game, we expect them to top Group A, before defeating the USA in the last 16, setting up a repeat of 2014’s semifinal against Argentina, only this time it will be a round earlier.
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Brazil – Semifinal
Argentina’s toughest test will come in the final four when they could face off with their archrivals Brazil. While the Selecao looked imperious in their opening day victory over Serbia and are quite rightly favorites to add the FIFA World Cup trophy to their collection for the sixth time, Lionel Messi and co. will not head into the showdown with fear. That’s because they defeated their great rivals – on enemy territory nonetheless – to lift the Copa America last summer, securing Messi’s first international trophy.
France – Final
If Argentina passes that test, they may face the reigning champions France in the final. Les Bleus are aiming to become the first team since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to retain the trophy successfully, and – should they manage to navigate England in the quarterfinals successfully – will stand a great chance of doing exactly that. Will they have a date with Argentina at the Lusail Stadium on December 18th? Only time will tell.
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