Albiceleste’s victory in Copa America a couple of weeks ago shall inspire their junior teams to do the same in Tokyo 2020. Argentina has not been at their best since winning the 2008 edition when Messi was still in the team. This time they are aiming to improve their campaign after failing in the last two editions consecutively. The first match against Australia is the best one to prove their quality whether they could be equal to their senior side or not.
Both teams’ previous games
Argentina U-24 under Fernando Batista surprisingly only calls up one senior figure instead of the three like the other teams, Cadiz goalie Jeremias Ledesma. The rest of the squad would be filled with the young promising players such as Thiago Almada, Claudio Bravo, Agustin Urzi, Fausto Vera, Carlos Valenzuela and several other names who has been playing in major European leagues such as Granada’s Nehuen Perez, Lens man Facundo Medina, Spartak Moscow forward Ezequiel Ponce and Brighton playmaker Alexis McAllister.
Meanwhile, The Socceroos barely has famous stars in European leagues unlike a decade ago. Graham Arnold also only includes over-aged player Western Sydney Wanderers striker, Mitchell Duke. However, Australia still has a few young names playing in England such as Southampton’s Caleb Watts, Birmingham City man Riley McGree and Crystal Palace youngster Jay Rich-Banghuelou.
Fernando Batista might be deploying the 4-2-3-1 formation. Thiago Almada and Carlos Valenzuela shall occupy both flanks to support the targetman Ezequiel Ponce while Alexis McAllister will be featuring as the number ten. At the backline, duo Nehuen Perez and Facundo Medina in front of the goalie will be warranty for their solidity.
Graham Arnold, on the other hand, could be opting for 3-5-2 by deploying AGF forward Daniel Arzani and Mitchell Duke. In the midfield, Riley McGree and Keanu Baccus should get a nod to occupy the second line in defensive and offensive role.
Players to watch
Brighton attacking midfielder, Alexis McAllister is one of the few figures in the squad who is expected to thrive in this tournament. He has been considered a talented player but has not had chance to prove his quality in EPL as he is not in the regular line up. Some other essential key men to watch are Velez man Thiago Almada, the captain Nehuen Perez and Benevento striker Adolfo Gaich.
Socceroos seems to be hopeful for the positive form of Daniel Arzani. The 22-year old forward is actually Manchester City player but has not been able to play for senior side. Arzani has made six appearances for Australia senior team and netted one goal so far. Another key figure to watch is Riley McGree.
Argentina vs Australia Prediction
Fernando Batista who happens to be the brother of the last coach to win gold medal for Albiceleste, Sergio Batista, would attempt his best to guide his team to a victory. Another coincidence could be a motivating factor for Thiago Almada and Co. Argentina won two gold when they were seeded with Australia at the group stage, those were in 2004 and 2008 edition. Could this be a good sign for them? Only time can tell, but one thing for sure, the Socceroos seems to be no match for Argentina. A narrow win for Batista’s side instead.
Neither side is the favourite in this clash, which makes the odds for the draw result are quite high, at 3/1. Albiceleste’s win market is at 4/7, whereas Australia is priced to win at 9/2.