Argentina haven’t won the FIFA World Cup since 1986. While it’s not quite the years of hurt that England have experienced since 1966, it’s fair to say that La Albiceleste have been in the shadow of that amazing Diego Maradona-driven side and a certain Lionel Messi has failed to inspire them to enjoy the same kind of success.

However, Argentina did manage to land the Copa America last summer to demonstrate that a giant of South American football has the capacity to secure a major tournament and there are signs that things could be coming together nicely in Qatar. This is certainly not a one man team either, despite Sergio Aguero’s recent retirement.

Argentina have been handed the easiest possible 2022 World Cup opener and this is an opportunity for the team to make a statement on the biggest stage. This is a side who were unbeaten in CONMEBOL qualifying, winning eleven and drawing six of their matches to indicate that they have the potential to go deeper than four years ago in Russia.

On that occasion, the Argentineans blustered along and were dumped out by France 4-2 after their porous defence creaked a number of times. However, eight goals conceded in seventeen qualifying matches illustrates that the manager has certainly arrested this issue over the years.

Nicolás Tagliafico has become an important player for the team, while Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez is likely to be first choice and there is also the midfield powerhouses of Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes who operate in front of the back four and make them a difficult team to break down.

Obviously, Messi can still sprinkle some magic dust going forward and we’re unlikely to see Saudi Arabia have many chances in the game. The Green finished top of their qualifying section, although Japan and Australia weren’t the toughest opponents that the team could face and scoring goals was a problem in qualifying.

This should be a fairly comfortable win for Argentina before sterner tests against Mexico and Poland to determine the overall outcome of the group. La Albiceleste are big favourites to win the section and make further progress.

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