2018 World Cup | Qualifying Team Guide | Argentina

Despite being ranked as the fourth best team in the world, Argentina left it late to book their place in Russia. A hat-trick from Lionel Messi in their final qualifying match against Ecuador rescued them from the possibility of a play-off or even elimination. Their 3-1 win in Quito was just their seventh in 18 qualifying matches, but it was sufficient to lift them from sixth place to third in the final Conmebol standings, some 13 points behind Brazil who breezed into the finals. Let’s look at the Argentina World Cup odds.

  • Fifa Ranking: 4
  • Tournament Best: Champions, 1978 & 1986
  • World Cup Appearances: 16

Argentina World Cup: Road to Russia 2018

Having been drawn in Group D alongside Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria, Argentina are the fifth favourites with the bookmakers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, at best odds of 9/1* with Bet365 and Coral. (*Odds subject to change).

This will be their 17th World Cup and their record in the competition is strong. They have lifted the trophy twice – when they hosted in 1978 and again in Mexico eight years later – and been runners-up three times, including in 2014 when they were beaten by Mario Gotze’s extra-time goal for Germany. They have reached at least the quarter-finals in seven of the last 10 tournaments.

At the age of 30, this may well be the final chance Messi has to shine on the biggest stage of all. Although he did score in each of Argentina’s group games at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he failed to score in four matches in the knock-out stages and Fifa’s decision to award him the Golden Ball was widely criticised.

Nevertheless, the Barcelona superstar remains the focal point of Jorge Sampaoli’s team and is his country’s all-time leading goalscorer. For the crucial qualifiers against Ecuador and Peru in October Sampaoli was without the injured Sergio Aguero and opted to play Messi behind the Boca Juniors striker Dario Benedetto, with Paulo Dybala of Juventus on the bench.

Argentina World Cup Team

Argentina’s Sergio Aguero (9) celebrates with team mates Alejandro Gomez (22), Cristian Pavon (26) and Lionel Messi (10) after scoring his side’s opening goal during the international friendly soccer match between Russia and Argentina at Luzhniki World Cup 2018 stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) @ Polfoto

Argentina World Cup: Sampaoli’s Plans

Aguero should be the main striker in Russia, with Paris St Germain’s Angel Di Maria completing the attacking trio. Although Sampaoli is flexible with his formations. Aguero’s Manchester City team-mate Nicolas Otamendi and Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano are mainstays of the defence. With Ever Banega and Lucas Biglia among the options for the two midfield holding positions.

Sampaoli was parachuted in to rescue the qualifying campaign in May. His predecessor Edgardo Bauza was sacked following a 2-0 defeat in Bolivia. Bauza lasted less than a year in the job, taking just 11 points from his eight qualifying matches. Back-to-back defeats against Paraguay and Brazil did the bulk of the damage. They lost in La Paz the final straw in spite of wins over Colombia and Chile.

Sampaoli’s reign began in positive fashion with a 1-0 friendly win against Brazil. But he drew his first three qualifying games before that crucial win over Ecuador. His first defeat came in a friendly against Nigeria in November, losing 4-2.

Nigeria are a familiar foe for Argentina. They’ve been drawn against the South Americans for the fifth time in six World Cup tournaments. Argentina have won all four previous competitive meetings, including a 3-2 success in the group stage in Brazil.

They also beat Croatia in their one previous World Cup meeting in France in 1998. They will meet Iceland, conquerors of England at Euro 2016, for the first time in Russia.

2018 Argentina World Cup Betting Odds

Event Selection Best Odds Brand
2018 World Cup Argentina Win 9/1* bet365 logo
2018 World Cup Argentina Win 9/1*  Sporting Bet Logo
2018 World Cup Argentina Win 9/1* Coral Promo Code
2018 World Cup Argentina Win 9/1* Unibet logo

*Odds at the time of writing. Subject to change.