Brazil vs Argentina
Perhaps the biggest game of the break, Brazil and Argentina renew their rivalry in neutral grounds this week—in a match that is expected to exceed the billing of an “international friendly.”
Friendly games matter little, and more often than not, national teams do not send their best players available or coaches just play their younger guys to give them more international experience. It’s a glorified fixture, to say the least.
However, things are different whenever Brazil and Argentina meet, even in a friendly. Saying that the long-time rivals have a history would be an understatement. It is the Battle of the South Americans, one which was once described by FIFA as “the essence of football rivalry.”
Surely, nothing is better than this!
‘Never a friendly’
Call it an international friendly, but Argentinean and Brazilian players alike don’t consider it one. It’s a game they need to win, plain and simple.
Brazil manager Tite knows the significance of the game, which is why he urged his players to provide a much-improved performance when they fight Argentina in the King Abdullah Sports City at Jeddah.
The Selecao beat Saudi Arabia in a friendly recently, but Tite wasn’t convinced with their performance and admitted that they should prepare for La Albiceleste who he expects to play their best players available.
“We never play friendly matches against Argentina, that doesn’t exist,” the 57-year-old manager said. “Argentina will certainly face us with their very best players available, and so will we.”
Inter Milan captain and Argentina international Mauro Icardi shared the same opinion as Tite. While he didn’t play in the team’s match with Iraq last week, Icardi will be hoping to lead the Argentine frontline when they play Brazil in a contest which “means a lot more.”
“Argentina-Brazil is never a friendly match. There is a lot of enthusiasm. In the last tour, we played against Colombia, a great team, but playing with Brazil means a lot more, beyond that, it is not a friendly match on the pitch, it will never be,” Icardi furthered.
Messi out, Dybala in
One of the biggest storylines of this match-up is the absence of Lionel Messi, who is currently taking a break from international duty after Argentina’s failed bid to win a World Cup.
Brazil star Neymar has urged Messi to play for his country again, saying that “it’s a shame for the game of football” that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner won’t be on the other end of the pitch when they face Argentina.
However, while it’s unfortunate that Messi won’t feature in what is already a star-studded affair, the situation gives an opportunity for Juventus striker Paulo Dybala to take the spotlight and lead his country against their fiercest rivals.
Argentina forward Paulo Dybala in action during an international friendly match against Iraq
Dybala, always playing behind the shadow of the great Messi, spent the majority of the World Cup on the sidelines. He appeared in just one game for the then Jorge Sampaoli-coached squad—a late substitute appearance in their 3-0 group stage defeat to Croatia.
Now, the 24-year-old star has a chance to show what he can do and prove to the world that he is the future of Argentina football. Sure enough, the pressure is on him to deliver, but he really needs to step up if Argentina are to challenge the Brazilians.
Streaking Brazil, Argentina
The post-World Cup 2018 era has been kind to Brazil and Argentina. They have both recorded impressive international friendly 2018 results, with Brazil even winning three straight friendlies after their defeat to Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Brazil took down the rebuilding USA team earlier last month before thrashing El Salvador with five goals four days later. As mentioned, they recently won against Saudi to extend their run.
Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus were all on target for Brazil during that three-game streak, so manager Tite and their fans are leaning on the four to score again.
Argentina, on the other hand, have two wins and one draw in their last three outings after the World Cup. They played a goalless draw with Colombia in September, but they proved in their 4-0 win against Iraq that they are ready for the Brazil challenge.
The two teams have quality all over the pitch, and with the momentum they currently have, it might come down to who wants it more.
The two teams have played against each other more than 100 times since 1914. Brazil have largely dominated their meetings, and that remains the case in their recent head to heads.
In their last four encounters in all competitions, Brazil won twice, drew once and lost the other. Moreover, in the South America World Cup qualifiers in 2016, they embarrassed the Messi-led Argentines 3-0.
It should be noted though that Tite’s charges lost their last match against Argentina. In a friendly in June last year, Argentina edged out Brazil 1-0 behind a late first-half goal from Gabriel Mercado.
||Brazil vs Argentina
||Over 2.50 @ 2.17
|October 17, 02:00 (GMT+8)
With Brazil’s top players available, it’s easy to see why the international friendly 2018 odds tip them to dominate the game. us odds on Argentina also suggest that Lionel Scaloni’s men need a miracle to pull off a win.
Both teams, though, are expected to go all out in this game. And so while I think the Brazilians to win, I see this game ending with only a one-goal lead and at least three goals—maybe a 2-1 scoreline.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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