As the 2022 World Cup enters the round of 16 with Australia firmly still in contention, the team at Stats Insider is helping us answer the question: Can the Socceroos actually beat Argentina?
The Socceroos have captured the imagination of the Australian public throughout the 2022 World Cup, with bleary-eyed Aussies braving the 3am wake up times to see the green and gold progress through the the group stage for the first time since 2006.
There’s even been calls for the Prime Minister to call a public holiday so all Aussies can fully get behind the green and gold.
Public holiday or not, the Socceroos have continued to unite the nation in their own unique way, but how far can Australia go in the 2022 World Cup?
Let’s take a look at what the stats tell us.
Do the Stats suggest Australia has a chance?
Unfortunately for Australian football fans, the Stats Insider Predictive Model is predicting a rude awakening to the Socceroos’ dream run.
The Stats Insider projections suggest that Australia has only a 6.5% chance of beating Argentina on Sunday morning, with the game heading to extra time rated as the more likely outcome at 15.1%.
The Argentinians progressing past the Socceroos is rated as the most likely outcome at 78.4%.
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What can the Socceroos expect from Lionel Messi?
It won’t surprise anyone to see Lionel Messi is expected to have a huge say in Sunday morning’s procedings.
Stats Insider believes it is highly likely that Messi will find the back of the net at anytime in regulation, with the predictive model saying he’s a 46.3% chance of scoring.
Messi is also the most likely to score the opener of the game at 20.5%.
Argentina finished its Round of 16 preparations in the best way possible against Poland, winning 2-0 to lock in the match up against Australia.
Despite not recording an assist and missing a penalty, Messi was arguably the best man on the pitch against Poland, delivering pin-point passes through the midfield to help set up numerous attacks.
The numbers tell a completely different story for the Aussies.
There’s no Socceroo over 5% to score first, with Matthew Leckie leading the way at 4.8%, while scoring at anytime is only slightly more likely at 13.1%.
While scoring will be a priority for the front man, Leckie said the main objective for the Aussies is shutting down the mercurial star.
“I am a Messi man,” Leckie told Fox Sports.
“He’s naturally is the most talented player I have ever seen with the ball at his feet and he just does things that no-one else can do.
“In saying that, we have come across great players last night (against Denmark) and in this tournament as long as we’re a collective group, as we have been until now, we can stop their strengths, stop them from being dangerous and that is what we will try and do.”
What do the pundits say about the Socceroos?
Australia has continued to defy expectations throughout the 2022 World Cup, and while the stats gurus and the collective heads of Aussies say the run has to eventually end, the collective hearts of the nation are daring to dream.
There’s a nothing to lose mentality heading into Sunday morning according to former Socceroo and current football expert Mark Bosnich.
“Graham Arnold has had experience coaching against Argentina at the Olympic Games,” Bosnich said on the SBS coverage.
“He beat Argentina at the last Olympics. They have to go and believe.
“They’ve got nothing to lose. They really have nothing to lose.
“You know what? If they go and do the amazing, what a story that would be.”
“The have to look at it and think Saudi Arabia did (beat Argentina), why not us?”
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