Without ever really producing a stunning performance Argentina have fashioned a route to the World Cup semi-finals and Alejandro Sabello’s troops are now tipped by bookies to continue their run by defeating a Netherlands side that required a penalty shootout to eliminate a spirited Costa Rica side in the last eight.
La Albiceleste are Stan James’s 11/8 favourites to overcome the potentially leg-weary Dutch, BetVictor’s 12/5 chances, in normal time, and it’s 11/5 courtesy of Skybet to be all square after 90 minutes, a result that would be in no way surprising given how close the pair’s knockout games have been.
Indeed, plenty of punters have already given their financial backing to a goalless encounter, now just 7/1 at BetVictor while betway mark a generous 11/4 against a stalemate in which there are fewer than 2.5 goals.
Those seeking to cover themselves in the event of an inconclusive affair can back a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina at 4/6 via Stan James in the ‘Draw No Bet’ market, where bet365 chalk Louis van Gaal’s side up at 6/5 and with outstanding attacking players at both ends of the park, Winner.com’s 11/2 about a 1-1 scoreline isn’t without appeal.
Even if there is to be a winner in normal time, it’s hard to see them coming out on top emphatically and the South Americans are 16/5 courtesy of Ladbrokes to sneak it by one goal. A success by the same margin for the Dutch is a 10/3 chance at bet365 and in a match that’s 13/8 (Paddy Power) to produce fewer than 1.5 goals, BetVictor quote the teams at 6/1 and 15/2 respectively to card a 1-0 triumph.
Ultimately of course, only one team can reach the final and Sabello’s men just about look the most likely to get there (they’re 4/6 at Winner.com to qualify). William Hill make them 8/1 to eventually settle matters in extra-time whereas a success from the spot for La Albiceleste in a dramatic shootout is available at 10/1 with BetVictor.
Inevitably, it’s the irrepressible Messi, fresh from an influential quarter final showing against Belgium, that heads the first scorer betting, Stan James chalking the Barcelona man up at 4/1 to break the deadlock. Manchester United’s Robin van Persie is a 7/1 shot at Paddy Power to grab that opener while bet365 price both Gonzalo Higuain and Arjen Robben at 7/1; the Argentina and Napoli man the most tempting wager from that trio and arguably the best bet in the market overall.
In terms of discipline finally, Robben needs no invitation to go to ground and his pace is likely to cause plenty of headaches for Argentina defender Javier Mascherano. Suprisingly, the combative Barcelona man has yet to be cautioned in the tournament but potentially needing to halt Robben’s progress at some stage, he appeals at 2/1 (BetVictor) to be shown a card by Turkish official Cüneyt Çakir.
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com