Argentina remains one of the favourites to win the 2014 World Cup, but they face a tricky round of 16 clash against a dangerous Switzerland at Arena de Sao Paulo at 2am (AEST) tomorrow morning.
Argentina qualified for the second round of the 2014 World Cup with three wins from as many games, but it is fair to say that they were not overly impressive in the opening stage of the tournament.
Lionel Messi has been the key figure for Argentina during their World Cup campaign to date and it was an individual piece of brilliance from the superstar that led his side to victory over both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.
Argentina were outplayed at times against Bosnia-Herzegovina and were lucky to walk away with the three points, while they took 91 minutes to break down a tough Iranian defense in their second game of the tournament.
In attack, Argentina produced a much improved performance against Nigeria, with Messi and Angel Di Maria pulling the strings for the South American side, but their defense struggled at times and a lack of communication between Ezequiel Garay and Federico Fernandez directly led to a couple of Nigerian goals.
Argentina will need to improve significantly on their defense against a Swiss side that is more than capable of scoring goals and coach Alejandro Sabella will be hoping that the side does not require something special from Messi to progress to the final eight.
Switzerland have been inconsistent during the 2014 World Cup; with the young side producing impressive performances against Ecuador and Honduras, but their defense was embarrassingly exposed against France.
Swiss sides have been noted for their strength in defense and lack of creativity up front, but this generation of the side has plenty of attacking spark through the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Admir Mehmedi and Josip Drmic.
Shaqiri’s hat trick against Honduras led Switzerland to the second round and he will be key to their chances against Argentina, as it is difficult to see the Swiss defense keeping a clean sheet against the star-studded Argentinian attack.
Switzerland are likely to sit back and allow Argentina to control possession because they have the speed to attack the questionable defense of the South American side on the counter.
The problem for Switzerland will be shutting down Messi and if they defend like they did against France it could be a long night.
Argentina ($1.50) are clear favourites to defeat Switzerland ($7) in regular time and are available at the extremely short quote of $1.22 to progress to the 2014 World Cup quarter finals.
While Argentina deserve to be favourites, there is little value in this quote and playing a number of different prop betting options is the best way to play this match from a betting standpoint.
There should be plenty of goals scored in this encounter and the $1.85 on offer for both teams to score and the $2.30 available for Argentina to score in both halves represents excellent value, while the $5.25 for over 4 and a half goals to be scored in this match is also worth a bet.
Punters looking for a bet at big odds can take advantage of the $29 for Argentina to win 3-2, while Messi is a very safe bet to score at any times despite the short odds on offer.
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au has offered a wide range of special markets during the 2014 World Cup and they have their headline offers available for this clash.
$2 odds are on offer for Lionel Messi to score and Argentina to win in normal time, while punters looking to back an upset can take advantage of the $13 on offer for Xherdan Shaqiri to score in and Switzerland to win in normal time.