MX23RW : Friday, June 18 10:00:12| >> :120:76276:76276:
Jun 4, 2021 at 1am UK
ArgentinaArgentina
1-1
ChileChile
Messi (23' pen.)
Martinez (43'), Romero (52')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Sanchez (36')
Galdames (2'), Aranguiz (68')

Preview: Argentina vs. Chile - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Argentina and Chile, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

For the first time in seven months, Argentina return to international duty and will play host to Chile in their fifth game of CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualification on Friday.

La Albiceleste are unbeaten in their last 11 matches across all competitions, while the visitors have only won three of their previous 11 games.


Match preview

Argentina players celebrate scoring against Paraguay on November 13, 2020© Reuters

Argentina have made a strong start to their qualification campaign, winning three and drawing one of their opening four matches.

Narrow 1-0 and 2-1 victories against Ecuador and Bolivia respectively were followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Paraguay and a 2-0 away triumph in Peru, their last qualifier which took place in November 2020.

The draw with Paraguay was La Albiceleste's only surprise slip-up, but they remain in a strong position to qualify for Qatar 2022, as they sit second and two points behind early pacesetters Brazil, who are the only South American nation to have claimed maximum points so far.

Goals, however, have been hard to come by for Argentina, finding the net just six times so far, half as many as Brazil and seven less than Ecuador. For the next two World Cup qualifiers, they will also have to cope without forward Paolo Dybala, who withdrew from the squad due to injury, but head coach Lionel Scaloni still has plenty of attacking talent at his disposal.

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez, Barcelona's new recruit Sergio Aguero as well as his new teammate and the nation's talisman Lionel Messi, are all set to play a major part in the final third for Argentina, both in the World Cup qualifiers and at the Copa America, which starts later this month.

La Albiceleste have won each of their last four World Cup qualifiers against Chile and will be confident of continuing their strong start to the campaign with another victory on Friday.

Colombia manager Reinaldo Rueda pictured when manager of Chile on November 13, 2020© Reuters

In contrast, Chile have had a frustrating start to their campaign, claiming just four points from their opening four games.

Reinaldo Rueda's side have struggled to see out matches and have been conceding late goals, which has cost them in three of their fixtures so far.

A 93rd-minute strike from Maxi Gomez helped Uruguay beat Chile in their opening World Cup qualifier, before a 91st-minute winner from Radamel Falcao was enough for Colombia to seal all three points in their next match.

Chile's most recent encounter away at Venezuela also saw them concede an 81st-minute strike from Salomon Rondon, with the hosts holding on for their first victory of the campaign.

La Roja are now sixth in the current standings, two points behind Paraguay in fourth and Uruguay in fifth, who occupy the inter-confederation playoff spot.

Chile narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, failing to progress on goal difference, and they will be keen to rectify their current form to ensure they head to Qatar next year.

The last two times La Roja beat Argentina were on penalties during the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, tournaments in which they went on to become champions for the first and second time in their history.

Chile's last competitive win against La Albiceleste in 90 minutes, however, dates back to October 2008 when they won 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier. A repeat of this result on Friday would get their 2021 campaign back on track and could see them climb into the top four.

Argentina World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Argentina form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Chile World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Chile form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W


Team News

Argentina's Lionel Messi in action with Ecuador's Moises Caicedo in a 2022 World Cup qualifier on October 8, 2020© Reuters

Argentina boss Scaloni may decide to adopt a 4-4-2 setup for Friday's game, which could see Paris Saint-Germain duo Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes named in the starting lineup, with the former operating on the right wing and the latter in central midfield.

Rodrigo De Paul may join Paredes in the middle of the pitch ahead of Giovani Lo Celso, while experienced winger Marcos Acuna is likely to return to the side and play on the left flank.

River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel, who has started in all four qualifiers, is expected to keep his place in the first XI, despite Tottenham Hotspur defender Juan Foyth impressing during his loan spell at Europa League winners Villarreal.

One of Lucas Martinez Quarta or Lisandro Martinez is set to start at centre-back alongside Nicolas Otamendi, while Nicolas Tagliafico is likely to play at left-back.

Both Lautaro Martinez and Messi are expected to lead the line in attack, while Aguero could make an impact from the bench.

As for Chile, they were dealt a huge blow in preparation for Friday's fixture, as key midfielder Arturo Vidal has tested positive for coronavirus.

La Roja are also set to be without 35-year-old winger Fabian Orellana, who is suffering with a muscle injury.

Former Barcelona and Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo – who became the first player in Chile's history to participate in 50 World Cup qualifiers late last year – is set to start and make his 127th international appearance.

La Roja's most capped player Alexis Sanchez (136) is expected to start in the number 10 role, with Eduardo Vargas and Cesar Pinares to operate on the flanks.

Meanwhile, Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton – born in Stoke-on-Trent – could be in line to make his debut up front. The 22-year-old is eligible to represent Chile as his mother was born in the country.

Argentina possible starting lineup:
E.Martinez; Montiel, Martinez Quarta, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Di Maria, Paredes, De Paul, Acuna; L.Martinez, Messi

Chile possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Isla, Diaz, Maripan, Beausejour; Pulgar, Aranguiz; Pinares, Sanchez, Vargas; Brereton


SM words green background

We say: Argentina 2-0 Chile

Even though Argentina have found goals hard to come by so far, they face a Chile outfit who have yet to impress during the qualifiers.

The hosts have a good record against La Roja, scoring in nine of their last four meetings, and we feel that they have enough quality throughout their squad to continue their strong start to the campaign and secure all three points on Friday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Argentina vs Chile

Argentina
89.9%
Draw
4.7%
Chile
5.4%
427
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Barcelona's Lionel Messi pictured in September 2020
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