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Australia did extremely well to navigate a tough looking Group D having recorded wins over Tunisia and Denmark. Their reward for doing so is a clash with South American giants Argentina, which of course brings the prospect of facing Lionel Messi. Whilst the Socceroos will fancy their chances, ex-Premier League striker Chris Sutton doesn’t share their hope; he’s predicted a huge win for Messi and co.
What has Sutton predicted?
Sutton, who had a decorated playing career representing the likes of Blackburn, Chelsea and Celtic, is producing a column on the BBC Sport website throughout the Qatar 2022 World Cup predicting the scores of the games. One of the round of 16 games to predict is, obviously, Argentina vs Australia.
Sutton has praised Australia for making it into the knockout stages, however, his actual wording around that achievement is something you could dress up as a false kindness with him comparing the Socceroos making the last 16 to England, a side that haven’t won a major tournament since 1966, winning the World Cup.
With respect of the match versus Argentina he’s suggested that the ‘organised’ underdogs do not have ‘any hope’ against Argentina. In terms of a score prediction, Sutton has back Argentina to run riot in a 5-0 win.
Chris Sutton is predicting a comfortable win for Argentina against Australia today, but the Netherlands v USA game could be close…#BBCWorldCup #BBCFootball
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 3, 2022
How have Australia fared so far?
Australia only just made the finals in Qatar but they’ve equipped themselves well so far. Their opening match was a tough pill to swallow as France swotted them aside 4-1 although it’s worth noting that the Socceroos took the lead in that game courtesy of Craig Goodwin. What followed for Graham Arnold’s men though was back to back wins over Tunisia and, perhaps more impressively, Denmark.
When you consider that Tunisia beat France in the final round of group games, those wins shouldn’t just be brushed off as expected victories for Australia. On top of that, the way those final two games played out means Australia shouldn’t just be written off in the knockout stages. They didn’t have the lion’s share of possession in any game but maintained clean sheets in both whilst creating enough chances in the matches to find a crucial goal.
This round of 16 tie against Argentina is likely to require the same again.
Are Argentina really unbeatable?
Sutton might have dressed this game up as one that Argentina will breeze through but, make no mistake about it, it is not a foregone conclusion. This World Cup has been a tournament loaded with shock results. Argentina know that more than anyone. They topped their group by beating Mexico and Poland in games two and three but were also on the wrong end of one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history as they blew a one goal lead in their opening match against Saudi Arabia.
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina but were eliminated.
🇹🇳 Tunisia stunned France but were eliminated.
🇨🇲 Cameroon stunned Brazil but were eliminated.
The game can be so cruel 😢 pic.twitter.com/IgAO6wrqT7
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 2, 2022
With Argentina having been rocked by an underdog once already this tournament and Australia currently scripting their own story, anything could happen. It could end up 5-0 to Argentina – after all, they’re very good on their day. If though Australia are 100% on their game and Argentina aren’t then another 1-0 Socceroos win could well await.