Best bets for Argentina v Canada

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Jack Ogalbe’s tips for the first Copa America semi-final include a win for the world champions in a low-scoring game.

Argentina and Canada have already met once at the 2024 Copa America, but there could hardly be more at stake as they prepare to get reacquainted in the first of this year’s semi-finals at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey during the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The two teams first faced off in the tournament’s opening game, a match that defending champions Argentina won in fairly comfortable fashion, triumphing 2-0.

Lionel Scaloni’s side will now be targeting a repeat result as they bid to make it to their sixth Copa America final across the last eight editions, but tournament debutants Canada will hope they can spring a surprise and set up a final against either Uruguay or Colombia.


Argentina to win and under 2.5 goals @ 19/10

Lautaro Martinez 2+ shots on target @ 17/10

Canada over 3.5 total cards @ 7/5

Defending champions may have to grind it out

Argentina certainly justified their tag as tournament favourites during the group stage, as they won all three of their matches without conceding a single goal, including their opening success against Canada.

However, it was a more pragmatic effort from Scaloni’s side than was perhaps expected, highlighted by the fact they scored just five goals in the group, and they were also made to work for their quarter-final success over Ecuador, needing penalties after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.

The goal La Albiceleste conceded against Ecuador was just the third they have let in across their last nine matches, while no more than two goals have been scored in all four of their games at this year’s Copa, something that is also true for Canada.

Jesse Marsch certainly the Canucks well-drilled on their tournament debut, as since losing their opener to Argentina, they have only conceded once, although that has come at a cost, as they have scored a mere two goals in six games since the former Leeds United boss took charge in May.

Canada certainly have the defensive credentials to keep this one tight, but Argentina’s class should tell and a similar result to the tournament opener would not be a surprise.

Martinez proving Argentina’s main attacking threat

With Lionel Messi yet to score at the tournament and nursing an ongoing hamstring issue, much of Argentina’s attacking output has come from Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez, who is the competition’s leading scorer with four goals despite starting just two games.

Martinez has also racked up more shots on target than any player at this year’s Copa, with his seven strikes coming from just 10 total efforts towards goal.

The 26-year-old came off the bench to score against Canada in the tournament opener, but after starting in Argentina’s last two games, he will expect to retain his place in Scaloni’s XI for this one and that should further enhance his chances of having at least two efforts on target.

Canada used to getting stuck in

No team has picked up more yellow cards at the tournament than Canada’s total of 10 and Les Rouges may add to that tally considerably in this semi-final, a contest in which they are not expected to see much of the ball.

Marsch’s side managed only 35% of possession against Argentina during the group stage, and if they are chasing Messi and co for long periods without getting a touch, they may be forced into giving away fouls that could lead to yellow cards.

In their pivotal final group game against Chile, Canada received five cautions, a tally they can, at the very least, get close to matching this midweek.

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