Against all odds, Australia have made it to the Round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Drawn in a daunting Group D alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia, the Socceroos were given little hope of advancing, let alone winning a game.
Well Graham Arnold’s side not only won one game, they won two, and booked their place in the knockout stages for just the second time in Australia’s history as a result.
But after overcoming Tunisia and Denmark, the Socceroos now face Argentina and Lionel Messi in the Round of 16.
On paper, it’s a significant mismatch but the Aussies have already defied all expectations in Qatar and will be eager to do so again.
MORE: Socceroos World Cup prize money breakdown
Australia vs Argentina odds for World Cup Round of 16 match
As you’d expect, the bookmakers are heavily favouring Argentina ahead of this game.
After suffering a shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening match, Messi’s side bounced back by claiming consecutive 2-0 wins.
Not to be outdone, Australia also enter this match on the back of two straight 1-0 victories.
Despite that similar form, these two sides boast squads of vastly different quality and as such the odds are leaning overwhelmingly Argentina’s way.
In fact, the bookmakers seem to believe the Socceroos will be lucky to get on the scoresheet altogether despite the fact they’ve scored in their past three games.
Odds via BetMGM (USA), Sports Interaction (Canada), and Neds (Australia). Correct as of December 1.
to score Y / N
|+180 / -263||2.65 / 1.37||2.75 / 1.40|
|Over / Under
|-147 / +105||1.70 / 2.08||1.67 / 2.10|
Australia vs Argentina head-to-head record
Along with the odds, history also favours Argentina in this fixture.
The two sides have faced off seven times previously with Australia winning only once.
While they infamously battled in the 1994 World Cup playoffs, these two nations have never played each other in the finals of the tournament.
|July 14, 1988||Australia 4-1 Argentina||Bicentennial Gold Cup|
|June 18, 1992||Argentina 2-0 Australia||Friendly|
|October 31, 1993||Australia 1-1 Argentina||World Cup playoff|
|November 17, 1993||Argentina 1-0 Australia||World Cup playoff|
|June 30, 1995||Argentina 2-0 Australia||Friendly|
|June 18, 2005||Australia 2-4 Argentina||Confederations Cup|
|September 11, 2007||Australia 0-1 Argentina||Friendly|
Are Australia any chance against Argentina?
So all the signs are pointing towards a routine Argentina victory, but the Socceroos are at their best when given little chance and there are some reasons why this match might not go completely to script.
1. Saudi Arabia have shown how it can be done
Argentina have notably already lost to Asian opposition in Qatar with Saudi Arabia coming from a goal down to beat them 2-1 in their opening game.
For the first 45 minutes, Argentina dominated and could have been further ahead but once Saudi Arabia struck they looked rattled. And once they fell behind, the South Americans looked beyond shaky as they struggled to hit their stride in the final third.
Though Argentina have found their feet in Qatar since that game with back-to-back wins, Saudi Arabia showed they aren’t so strong when chasing a game and having to deal with a compact press.
Australia have pressed brilliantly in their past two games and if they could snag an early goal, the Socceroos would prove a hard team to break down.
2. Australia’s defence better than ever
With three clean sheets from their past four games, the Socceroos have rarely ever been this tight defensively.
A centre-back pairing of Kye Rowles and Harry Souttar has been paying dividends for Graham Arnold. Souttar in particular has starred and at nearly two-metres tall gives Australia an almighty weapon at either end of the field.
While still vulnerable on the flanks, the Socceroos have dominated their own box in recent games and Argentina will need to work their magic if they want any breathing space in front of goal.
Waited for 48 years for a #FIFAWorldCup clean sheet.
Now got two in two ??#Socceroos #GiveIt100 pic.twitter.com/lbhyichaF4
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) November 30, 2022
3. Messi’s knockout round drought
All Australian eyes will inevitably be on Messi once this game kicks off, but the PSG superstar has somehow never scored in the knockout stages of a World Cup.
Despite regularly starring in front of goal, the 35-year-old has struggled to find the back of the net at the tail end of these tournaments.
Messi has already struck twice in Qatar but had a penalty saved last time out against Poland so his confidence could be slightly dented.
If the Socceroos can find a way to keep him quiet, suddenly the playing field starts to look a bit more even.
So can Australia pull off a massive World Cup upset against Argentina? Now, only time will tell, but it’s safe to say they’ve got an entire, sleep-deprived country behind them and a team of players ready to defy the odds once again.
Worth the all-nighter. #Socceroos #FIFAWorldCup #GiveIt100 pic.twitter.com/Dh3jQFwi73
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) November 30, 2022
When is Argentina vs Australia?
Argentina will face Argentina at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan on Saturday, December 3, with kickoff at 22:00 local time in Qatar.
Here’s how that translates into time zones across some of the world’s major territories.
|Hong Kong||03:00 HKT*|
|New Zealand||08:00 NZDT*|
* Following Day (Sunday, Dec. 4)