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

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

Argentina will be looking to close the eight-point gap on leaders Brazil and consolidate their place in the top four, when they host Uruguay for their 2022 World Cup qualifier on Monday.

The two South American nations head into this encounter after playing out goalless draws on Friday against Paraguay and Colombia respectively.


Match preview

Argentina teammates celebrate scoring their third goal on June 29, 2021© Reuters

Argentina's impressive eight-game winning run across all competitions came to an end against Paraguay in Asuncion, as Lionel Messi and co were unable to find a breakthrough.

The 2021 Copa America champions, who had scored in each of their previous 20 international matches, failed to find the net on Friday for the first time since September 2019, in a goalless draw against Chile.

Lionel Scaloni's men have now drawn twice against Paraguay during their qualification campaign and having previously dropped points against Chile and Colombia as well, their hopes of claiming top spot are looking slim, as a rampant Brazilian outfit were able to extend their lead at the summit to eight points.

Nevertheless, Argentina remain unbeaten in their nine qualification matches and sit five points clear of Colombia, who currently occupy the inter-confederation playoff spot just outside the top four.

La Albiceleste will be keen to bounce back with a win on Monday against a Uruguayan side who they narrowly beat 1-0 in the Copa America group stages this summer.

Argentina have only lost one of their last 11 meetings against Uruguay across all competitions, so they will be confident of securing a positive result at the Estadio Monumental.

Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez pictured on October 8, 2020© Reuters

Uruguay were unable to claim their third successive victory in Qualifying and climb into the top three, as they played out a stalemate with Colombia, a nation they comfortably beat 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in November.

Even with the attacking prowess of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Darwin Nunez, La Celete could only boast three of their 15 shots on target.

The two-time world champions are still in with a good chance of reaching their fourth successive World Cup tournament, as they sit fourth in the current standings and three points behind Monday's opponents Argentina in second place.

Experienced head coach Oscar Tabarez will be facing Argentina for the 13th time in his managerial career, with his first for Uruguay dating back to July 1989. The 74-year-old has only been on the winning side three times against La Albiceleste but will be confident that his players can cause an upset in Buenos Aires.

Uruguay have, however, failed to score in four of their last five encounters with Argentina, so Tabarez will need his attackers to find their form in Buenos Aires if they are to come away with all three points.

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

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

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

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


Team News

Uruguay's Diego Godin pictured on June 21, 2021© Reuters

Despite drawing on Friday, Argentina boss Scaloni is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting lineup on Monday.

Talisman Lionel Messi, who scored a hat-trick in his last home encounter for La Albiceleste against Bolivia in September, is set to captain the side and could be joined in attack once again by Joaquin Correa.

After being given the all-clear to play during October's international break, following last month's quarantine dramas against Brazil, Premier League trio Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso all started on Friday and will be in contention to feature again on Monday.

Romero is set to partner Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back, however there could be rotation in the full-back positions, as Gonzalo Montiel and Nicolas Tagliafico could replace Nahuel Molina and Marcos Acuna.

As for the visitors, veteran defender Diego Godin is in line to make his 150th international appearance for Uruguay on Monday, becoming the first player in the nation's history to reach this milestone.

The 35-year-old is set to partner Jose Gimenez at centre-back, while Godin's Cagliari teammate and midfielder Nahitan Nandez is expected to continue at right-back.

Tabarez opted to start with one central striker against Colombia, which saw Suarez lead the line while Cavani and Nunez watched on from the bench before coming on as second-half substitutes.

Cavani started with Suarez in their last encounter with Argentina and so could return to the first XI here, which will likely see Brian Rodriguez drop to the bench.

Argentina possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Montiel, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; Paredes, Lo Celso; Di Maria, Messi, Gomez; Correa

Uruguay possible starting lineup:
Muslera; Nandez, Godin, Gimenez, Vina; Valverde, Bentancur, Vecino, De Arrascaeta; Suarez, Cavani


SM words green background

We say: Argentina 2-1 Uruguay

Even though Uruguay have struggled to score in recent meetings against Argentina, the likes of Suarez and Cavani are certainly capable of causing problems for the hosts on Monday.

However, Argentina are enjoying a long unbeaten run of 23 matches across all competitions and we expect this impressive streak to continue in Buenos Aires.



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 Uruguay

Argentina
75.3%
Draw
14.4%
Uruguay
10.3%
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Argentina's Giovani Lo Celso in action at the Copa America on June 14, 2021
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