Argentina vs Iceland preview, betting tips and prediction

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Can Messi inspire La Albiceleste?

Argentina to win with a -1 handicap @ 11/10 with Betfair

One of the most intriguing opening group games comes on Saturday at the Otkrytie Stadium. Argentina, led by Lionel Messi who is hoping to silence some of the critics who say he cannot be considered the greatest footballer of all time until he has emulated Diego Maradona and won the World Cup, face Iceland. The European minnows are making their debut in the competition, but they should not be underestimated having beaten England and almost shocked hosts France at Euro 2016. They shone all the way to the quarter finals two years ago, but with Nigeria and Croatia also in their group, two sides with a lot of hype around them, this will be their toughest summer ever, without a shadow of doubt.

 

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Argentina almost failed to qualify, and it was down to that man Messi to save them from the brink with a superb hattrick in the final game of qualification. Jorge Sampaoli’s men have so much attacking quality to call upon, with Juventus pair Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala and Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero complimenting Messi. Amazingly, they have left out Inter’s Mauro Icardi, who scored 29 goals in Serie A last season, which just shows their power. Their defensive frailties and threadbare midfield could prove costly as the tournament goes on, but Argentina shouldn’t have any problems at all securing three points here.

There is a superb Betfair price boost on offer for this game; Lionel Messi to score outside the box has been upgraded from 7/1 to 8/1, and given the deeper role he plays in Sampaoli’s set up, that is simply an offer that is too good to ignore. But La Albiceleste have so much attacking quality, as mentioned above, that even if he doesn’t find the net, there is an excellent chance somebody else will.

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