Test international, Saturday, 24/09/2022

With the 2022 World Cup being played at such an unusual time, virtually all participants cannot afford extensive preparation. This makes the current international phase all the more important.

Two-time world champions Argentina will play two test matches in the next few days before their last game before the start of the finals on 16 November.

The first of these preparatory matches will take place on Friday evening local time at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. Their opponents are Honduras. Not surprisingly, Lionel Messi and Co. are clear favourites.

I, too, cannot imagine much other than a victory for the Albiceleste in my Argentina Honduras tip. In the end, however, I’ll play the tip “Win Argentina without conceding a goal”.

Argentina are the current world No 3 and face a Honduras side that played a disastrous qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup. So the bookmakers’ assessment of this test match is no surprise.

For a victory of the South Americans, the sports bettors get just the best odds of 1.10 in the Argentina Honduras forecast. This offer is currently available at Betano.

The high odds of 30.0 on a win for the visitors at Bet3000 more than give an idea of just how much of an underdog the “Catrachos”, the number 80 in the world, will be on the pitch on Friday.

Argentina have not missed out on a World Cup since 1970. In this century, however, the “Albiceleste” has already lost six major finals, two at the World Cup and four at the South American Championship.

That gnawed at the football-mad country for a long time. This negative series finally came to an end last year with the triumph at the Copa America 2021, the first title since 1993.

Now captain Lionel Messi, who will be 35 at the start of the tournament and playing his fifth and possibly last World Cup, wants to lead his country to glory at a World Cup finals.

In the last five FIFA World Cups, Argentina had only made it past the quarter-finals once. Fans and players have high hopes and confidence in coach Lionel Scaloni, who took over the selection in August 2018.

The “Albiceleste” have been unbeaten for 33 international matches under Scaloni. Professionals like Paredes (Juventus), De Paul (Atletico) and Lo Celso (Villarreal) steer the game in midfield and bring superstar Messi into position.

This worked particularly well in the 3-0 victory over European champions Italy in the “Finalissima” at Wembley at the beginning of June. The new coach has also stabilised the defence.

Argentina have conceded only two goals in the past 12 international matches. The big stars have formed a conspiratorial group and follow the coach’s word to the letter.

The team rarely plays brilliantly, but pragmatically and efficiently. Argentina face Saudi Arabia (22 November), Mexico (26 November) and Poland (30 November) in the group stage of the World Cup.

The Honduras national team had punched their tickets to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. La H” narrowly missed out on the 2018 finals in the play-offs against Australia.

In 2021, the “Catrachos” reached the quarter-finals of the Gold Cup and the Final Four of the 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League. After that, however, the team went downhill.

The team failed to win a single match in qualifying for the 2022 finals in Qatar. As a result, national coach Fabian Coito was sacked after the first six games.

Hernan Dario Gomez, who had already led Colombia, Ecuador and Panama to World Cups, was hired as his successor. However, the new coach did not succeed in turning things around either.

With four draws and four points, Honduras finished bottom of the table. Seven goals scored and 26 conceded were the respective negatives in CONCACAF qualifying.

After seven defeats and a draw under Hernan Dario Gomez, he was sacked. Since then, the Argentine Diego Vasquez has been the new national coach of the Honduran side.

The first three games in the CONCACAF Nations League under Vasquez give hope. They suffered a bitter 2-1 home defeat against Curaco. On the other hand, they won in Curacao (1-0) and at home against World Cup participant Canada (2-1).

Most of the players in the national team squad earn their money at home. The new coach has brought about a major shake-up in the squad. “La H” is confident going into the test match against Argentina and will by no means be satisfied with a narrow defeat.

This Friday will be the third test match between Argentina and Honduras. The first encounter took place in San Pedro Sula in January 2003. Here the “Albiceleste” won 3:1.

There were three red cards in the match. In May 2016, they met in San Juan, Argentina. The home side won 1-0 with a goal from Gonzalo Higuain.

Now comes the first duel on neutral ground.

Conclusion: Certainly, the trend for Honduras under their new coach is finally on the up. But now “La H” also has the most difficult task under Vasquez. There shouldn’t be much to gain against Argentina.

The Albiceleste’s form under Scaloni is too good. And the two-time world champions bring too much quality to the pitch. But Honduras might at least be able to avoid a big defeat.

However, it should be a devil’s bargain if the “guests” can score a goal of their own against the strong defence of the Argentines. My tip for the match Argentina – Honduras is therefore: Argentina win without conceding a goal