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Argentina vs Australia – World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction

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Argentina are up against a spirited Australia side in the World Cup round of 16 on Saturday evening.

Lionel Scaloni’s Copa America champions were billed as one of the pre-tournament favourites before a ball was kicked in this highly controversial competition. A shock defeat to Saudi Arabia tempered expectations but Argentina recovered to top their group with victories gainst Mexico and Poland.

Graham Arnold insisted: “No-one in Australia had given us a chance.” And that was just about qualifying for the finals. 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark in Qatar has sent the Socceroos into their second-ever knockout stage match at a men’s World Cup.

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Here’s everything you need to know about this last 16 tie.

Argentina vs Australia H2H Results (Last Four Results)

Current Form (Last Five Games)

Argentina team news

As ever, the fitness focus for Argentina has revolved around Lionel Messi. On multiple occasions during the group stage reports emerged that Messi had been training on his own. Argentina’s manager and the skipper himself have been quick to dispel any doubts lingering over Messi’s fitness.

Angel Di Maria was taken off against Poland as a precaution after feeling discomfort in his quadriceps. However, Scaloni stressed post-game: “Di Maria is fine.”

Argentina Starting 11 (4-3-3): E Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez.
Bench: Armani, Rulli, Li Martinez, Pezzella, Tagliafico, Foyth, Montiel, Paredes, Rodriguez, Palacios, Almada, Gomez, Correa, Dybala, La Martinez.

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Australia team news

Arnold is expected to have a full squad at his disposal for the historic matchup with Argentina this weekend. Martin Boyle was named in the initial 26-man contingent but had to pull out with a knee injury. However, the Hibernian winger has remained in Qatar – on crutches – as the team’s “vibes manager”.

Australia Starting 11 (4-4-2): Ryan; Degenek, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; Leckie, Irvine, Mooy, Goodwin; Duke, McGree.
Bench: Vukovic, Wright, Devlin, Cummings, King, Redmayne, Tilio, Deng, Kuol, Baccus, Hrustic, Karacic, Maclaren, Mabil, Atkinson.

Mathew Leckie

Mathew Leckie fired Australia into the knockout stages / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Argentina to win to nil – 13 of Argentina’s last 14 wins in all competitions have come tonil, including each of their last nine.

Australia to win by a single goal – Five of Australia’s last six wins in all competitionshave come by a single goal margin.

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Australia to win by a single goal is currently 12/1*

Both teams to score? Yes – Argentina have scored in each of their last 12 games in all competitions while Australia have scored in each of their last five.

Both to teams to score is currently 13/8*

Either side to keep a clean sheet – Australia have kept a clean sheet in five of their lastsix matches in all competitions, while Argentina have kept seven shutouts in their last eight.AUSTRALIA TO SCORE FIRST -Australia have opened the scoring in each of their last fivegames in all competitions, including all three matches at the 2022 World Cup so far.

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Lionel Messi to score twice & Argentina to win – Lionel Messi has scored 2+ goals in 18international matches, with Argentina going on to win all 18 of those games.

Julian Alvarez over 1.5 shots on target – Julian Alvarez has scored four goals in his five starts forArgentina, having exactly three shots on target in two of his last four starts, including last timeout vs Poland.

To score or assist – Matthew Leckie has been directly involved in two of Australia’s threegoals at the 2022 World Cup (1 goal, 1 assist). He’s one of only three players to score and assistin a single World Cup for Australia, along with Tim Cahill (2 goals, 1 assist) and John Aloisi in2006 (1 goal, 2 assists).

Over 3.5 total match cards – Argentina’s three games at the 2022 World Cup have produced 13 cards (4.3 on average per game), with their opponents receiving 11 of those cautions (2 for Argentina).

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Insights courtesy of Opta. Head to The Analyst Stats Hub for live group stage standings, top scores, match metrics, team stats and much more!

*Odds correct at time of publication. 18+. Please gamble responsibly. BeGambleAware.org

Saudi Arabia’s upset has certainly removed the imperious gloss that Argentina carried into the tournament. However, Scaloni’s side has improved with each outing in the desert.

Australia have inspired riotous scenes of celebration back home through a dogged approach but they have benefitted from some unusually efficient finishing – Craig Goodwin and Mat Leckie (the match-winner against Denmark) have both scored with their only shots of the tournament.

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It’s impossible to say whether their luck will turn this weekend – which is why the World Cup is a breeding ground of shocks. But there is little doubt that the Socceroos will need a dollop of good fortune to overcome an Argentinian outfit tentatively rediscovering the slick edge which has defined their commanding form in the last three years.

Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Australia



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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