Bookmakers Slash In-Form Argentina Odds For World Cup Glory
With less than a month to go before the tournament gets underway, the eyes of the world are focusing on Qatar for World Cup 2022. Five-times winners Brazil have been favorites from the moment the sports books started taking bets last year, and with Neymar, Alisson, Vinicius Junior and the rest, they certainly have the strength in depth to finally clinch their sixth title, 20 years after claiming their fifth in Yokohama.
However, the question of which teams in the chasing pack are best placed to win is less clear. Holders France and Euro 2020 finalists England were leading the pack, but all that has changed over the past week or so with bookmakers slashing the odds on Argentina from 10/1 in May to 13/2. There are dozens of online sites offering sportsbetting for the World Cup – click for details – but while different sites have different odds, the general consensus is that Argentina are now second favorites to win Qatar 2022.
Last chance for Messi
There is even more than usual riding on this World Cup for Argentina. A little like the India cricket team at the 2011 World Cup who were so desperate to win it for Sachin Tendulkar before he retired, Argentina are desperate to add a World Cup winner’s medal to Lionel Messi’s trophy cabinet.
This will be Messi’s fifth and final World Cup – a fact the 35 year old confirmed beyond doubt in a recent interview with local media – so it is now or never. A little like Sachin in that famous cricket tournament, don’t expect Messi himself to necessarily take a starring role. As Messi has got older, national coach Lionel Scaloni has transformed his star player’s role into that of a creator and facilitator – leaving harder physical work to younger legs like those of Lautaro Martinez.
Related: 10 Big Names Who Will Miss 2022 World Cup Over Injury
The perfect preparation
The main reason for Argentina’s rapidly shortening odds, however, is their incredible form. Their current streak of 35 unbeaten games places them just three short of the all-time record held by Italy. The question “can anyone beat them?” is a deadly serious one, and with one friendly against the UAE between now and the World Cup, it is safe to predict that their unbeaten run will be on 36 when they start their first Group match against Saudi Arabia.
Calm seas in the group stage?
In fairness, it is hard to see where the slip up could come in the Group stage either. Argentina has had a favorable draw alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland in Group C, and it will be a major upset if they finish anywhere other than top. That being the case, they will face the Group D runner up in the round of 16. Assuming France tops that group, Denmark is most likely to finish second.
In fact, Argentina’s biggest challenge could be Argentina. The team has faltered before on the biggest stage, and sometimes against the most improbable opposition. On paper, Argentina’s path to the World Cup quarter finals seems assured – but it is what happens in the middle that counts.
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