Argentina vs Brazil Preview

2018 World Cup Qualifier | Saturday 14 November | River Plate Stadium | 02:00


South American heavyweights Argentina and Brazil will lock horns in a 2018 World Cup Qualifier in the early hours of Friday morning. The Selecao have a good record against La Albiceleste having won 12 of their 23 meetings with just six defeats. However, Brazil have been a shadow of themselves with Argentina outshining them in recent years. La Albiceleste are the number 1 ranked team in South America, while Brazil are behind Chile and Colombia in 4th place.




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To Win (90mins)
Argentina 27/20
Draw 22/10  
Brazil 2/1

Argentina



Finalists at the last World Cup, Argentina's attempt to go one better in Russia 2018 is now underway, and it could hardly have got off to a worse start. Defeat at home to Ecuador followed by a 0-0 draw away to Paraguay last month means Argentina sit seventh in the CONMEBOL group after two matches. Never in the history of the South American qualifiers, even so early in the campaign, have they been this low. Argentina have looked directionless, flat and unimaginative. 

Argentina will be desperate to return to winning ways against Brazil on Friday and coach Gerardo Martino will be hoping his players will be at their best for this crucial World Cup Qualifier. Boca Juniors striker Carlos Tevez will likely to start up front in place of the injured Sergio Aguero. Aguero limped off midway through the first half of Argentina's 2-0 loss at home to Ecuador and hasn’t featured since. His injury is a massive blow to a side already struggling to cope without Lionel Messi, who is out for two months with a knee injury. Adding to their woes, Lazio midfielder Lucas Biglia withdrew with a thigh strain and Ezequiel Garay has left the squad to be with his expectant wife, while Manchester City right back Pablo Zabaleta misses out with a knee ligament injury. 

The rambunctious Tevez will be charged with getting the goals and upping the tempo for Argentina. Angel Di Maria has been in excellent form for his club Paris Saint-Germain and Martino will be hoping he carries that form with him on the international stage. Di Maria has four goals and three assists from nine games for the Ligue 1 champions and he’ll be the driving force in Argentina’s attack.

Argentina Squad

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Agustin Marchesin (Santos Laguna).

Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Facundo Roncaglia (Fiorentina), Ezequiel Garay (Zenit St. Petersburg), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Emanuel Mas (San Lorenzo).

Midfielders: Matias Kranevitter (River Plate), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (Lazio, Italy), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Enzo Perez (Valencia), Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain), Erik Lamela (Tottenham), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain).

Forwards: Carlos Tevez (Boca Juniors), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica) Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli).



Brazil


Brazil have not had the best of starts themselves but they have at least managed one win as they sit in fifth position with three points. They were turned over 2-0 in their opening match against Chile, but they managed to hit back immediately with Willian scoring twice and Ricardo Oliveira also finding the back of the net in a 3-1 win over Venezuela. The five-time world champions will be looking to build on that victory and capitalize on Argentina’s injury woes. 

Brazil will be without a few regulars as well with Real Madrid full-back Marcelo and Paris Saint-Germain centre-half Marquinhos both sidelined with thigh problems. Arsenal's Gabriel and Atletico Mineiro's Santos are called up in their place. Dunga will be happy to have Barcelona forward Neymar back in the side after missing the past four internationals through suspension. Neymar has been outstanding this season having scored 11 goals with three assists in 10 appearances for the La Liga champions. With the Barcelona man, Brazil have a chance of winning any game, without him you wouldn't be confident backing them against top opposition. 

The Barcelona star was in dazzling form last weekend, showing off his sublime skill, clowning a pair of Villarreal defenders with his dribbling and scoring a brace in his side’s 3-0 win over Villarreal. He produces the goods more often than not, as evidenced by his ludicrous goalscoring record at international level. Neymar has 46 goals in 67 games for Brazil – keeping him quiet will be Argentina’s biggest test. Dunga will rely on the attacking trio of Neymar, Willian and Douglas Costa to hassle the Argentine defence in a bid to get on the scoresheet. 

Brazil Squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Internacional), Cassio (Corinthians), Jefferson (Botafogo).

Defenders: Danilo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Miranda (Inter Milan), David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Santos (Atletico Mineiro), Gil (Corinthians).

Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Man City), Elias (Corinthians), Renato Augusto (Corinthians), Oscar (Chelsea), Lucas Lima (Santos), Willian (Chelsea), Kaka (Orlando City), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich).

Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona), Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Ricardo Oliveira (Santos).

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Betting Verdict: Brazil 2/1
Argentina will struggled to cope without the influential duo of Messi and Aguero. La Albiceleste are yet to win a match from their two World Cup Qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay. Brazil are coming off a 3-1 win over Venezuela and the return of Neymar will boost their attack. These two last locked horns in a friendly back in October 2014 with Brazil winning 2-0 in Beijing. I’m going for another Brazil win at 2/1. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!