One of the pre-tournament World Cup odds favorites finds themselves in a potential must-win situation on Wednesday, as Argentina look to get a win over Poland to secure their place in the Round of 16. Following a shocking defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia in their first match, the Argentines sit second in Group C and could miss out if results go against them.
For their opponents, a win or draw will secure their place in the Round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup. But Poland know they could win the group should they take all three points, and potentially set themselves up with an easier path to the quarterfinals.
It should be an exciting match with plenty of shots, and we explain how that benefits you in our World Cup picks and predictions for Wednesday, November 30.
Poland vs Argentina odds
Poland vs Argentina picks and predictions
Robert Lewandowski has finally gotten his World Cup goal. It took him five matches, but his 82nd-minute goal against Saudi Arabia secured all three points for the Poles and put them atop the group with four points. This came after he set up Poland’s opener in the first half. It was redemption for the 34-year-old striker, who had his penalty saved in their 0-0 draw with Mexico, denying them a guaranteed spot in the Round of 16 heading into the third and final match.
Poland’s back line has been stout, not allowing a single goal through two matches — the only team to achieve that feat aside from Morocco. Despite allowing 27 shots in that span, just nine of them have been on target as they’ve forced teams to shoot from distance. When they conceded a penalty against Saudi Arabia, keeper Wojciech Szczesny stepped up to save the initial effort as well as the follow-up attempt.
Argentina looked to be on their way to an expected victory to start the World Cup when they took a lead just 10 minutes into their match with Saudi Arabia after Lionel Messi tucked away a penalty. Instead, they proceeded to waste multiple chances and had one taken away by a very controversial VAR offside decision before conceding two second-half goals within minutes of each other. Despite having an expected-goals advantage of 2.26 to 0.15, they were suddenly behind the eight-ball.
A 2-0 win over Mexico put them back on track, but it wasn’t an easy win. Mexico did their best to muddle the match in the midfield, and limited Argentina to just five total shots. It took a stunning goal from Messi from outside the box to put them ahead, and their two goals came despite having just 0.32 xG for the match.
While Poland have been solid, they were outplayed for large stretches by Saudi Arabia. According to Opta, the Saudis had the second-highest xG of the tournament without scoring, as they wasted chance after chance aside from the penalty. Now they must face an Argentina side with better weapons, better finishers — and Messi. He’s put four efforts on goal in six attempts and has yet to miss a big chance.
Messi has scored in six straight matches for his national team, and this is likely his final opportunity to put his name alongside Diego Maradona as a World Cup winner for Argentina.
His goal against Mexico was an example of him simply finding a way to put the team on his back, and with a victory almost necessary, I can see him doing it once again. I learned long ago not to bet against Messi when he’s on a roll, and that’s why I’m going to bank on him once again finding the back of the net — especially when I can do so at plus odds.
My best bet: Lionel Messi anytime goal (+120 at PointsBet)
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Poland vs Argentina side analysis
Poland will likely advance with any result on Wednesday, but a win would ensure their place atop the group — and, more importantly, would prevent them from a likely matchup with France in the Round of 16. While they could still advance with a defeat, they would need Mexico to get a result against Saudi Arabia, and tiebreakers could come into play.
Argentina must win to ensure their place in the next round. A loss would see them eliminated, and a draw would bring tiebreakers into place, unless Saudi Arabia win, at which point they’d be eliminated as well. A victory not only sends them through, but it could see them win the group and avoid France — the team that eliminated them at that very stage just four years ago.
Argentina are heavily favored given their talent advantage and their almost certain necessity to win the match. The two nations have split their previous two World Cup meetings, both in the 1970s, but Poland won the most recent matchup in a 2-1 friendly win back in 2011.
If you’re going to play Argentina money line, I would pair it with something else to bring down the juice — perhaps with my best bet. That said, there is some value in the double chance, given how well Poland have frustrated opposing attacks in this tournament thus far.
Poland vs Argentina Over/Under analysis
The Total of 2.5 is seeing the majority of the money so far coming in on the Under. That’s likely due to a combination of Poland’s defensive record so far in the tournament combined with Argentina’s struggles so far to capitalize on chances despite their talented forwards.
Poland’s last six matches have all seen the total stay under the 2.5 mark, and eight of their last 11 have followed that trend. On the other side, Argentina’s 2-0 win over Mexico ended a six-match run with three or more goals scored. Eight of their last 11 have eclipsed the total.
This is a tricky match to handicap on the total, but I would likely lean under if you can handle the juice. I could see this ending 1-0 just as easily as 2-1, but I expect Poland to do their best to sit back and frustrate their opponents on their way to a result.
Poland vs Argentina game info
|Location:||Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar|
|Date:||Wednesday, November 30, 2022|
|Time:||2:00 p.m. ET|
Poland vs Argentina key injuries