Argentina and Colombia face off against each other in their Group B opener in the Copa America in the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador. The match kicks off on Saturday at 7:00pm local time, which is 11:00pm UK time. The two teams are favourites to progress from the group, with the winners here likely to finish top.

Argentina

The narrative for this summer will be that Lionel Messi will be desperate to finally win a Copa America with Argentina, after going so close in the past decade. Many would argue that he is the best player ever in the game, but he cannot overtake Diego Maradona if he is not to win a trophy with his national side. In 2007 they were beaten finalists, and in 2011, 2015 and 2016, they were eliminated via a penalty shoot-out, with the two most recent ones in the final. The heartache cannot surely continue for Argentina, as they’ll want to win the tournament on their rival’s home turf. They’ve only played one friendly game prior to this tournament, as they beat Nicaragua 5-1 – as Lionel Messi and Lautaro Martinez scoring a brace apiece. Argentina are 2nd favourites to lift the trophy, and will want to get off to the perfect start with a win here.

Colombia

Colombia have had a golden generation in the past 8 years, as they have qualified, and impressed at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. With players such as Juan Cuadrado, Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, they have tested themselves against the best. In addition to those World Cup displays, they also managed to reach the semi-final stage of the last Copa America, before losing to Chile. They did however, claim 3rd place in that tournament by beating hosts USA. Colombia did win this trophy back in 2001, the only time they have won it in their history, and they were the hosts. Leading up to the tournament, they have won two friendlies 3-0, with promising striker Duvan Zapata getting amongst the goals.

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Head to Head

Colombia have a rather dreadful record against Argentina, having only won 8 times in their history, compared to Argentina who have won 24. The Argentines haven’t lost in their last 8 matches to Colombia, with 5 wins and three draws. The sides have met in four of the last five Copa America’s with Argentina usually coming out on top. Colombia managed to get a 0-0 draw in 2011, but they tasted defeat in 2007 and 2004. In 2015, the sides met in the quarter final stage, where it was 0-0 again and had to go to penalties, where Argentina were victorious. Colombia haven’t beaten Argentina since 2007, which was a World Cup qualifier, and haven’t won a Copa America meeting since 1999.

Predictions and Betting Tips

Argentina are at 21/20 to get the victory here, with Colombia priced at 11/4. For the sides to draw, that is priced at 21/10. The record that Argentina have over Colombia is certainly a good win, however, I can see them not getting the victory here. I anticipate a draw between the sides, so I am going for a 1-1 draw at 5/1. Colombia are at 4/6 to either win OR draw. For goal scorers, you can back both veterans Radamel Falcao and Lionel Messi to score at 8/1. If you were to back a winner you’d get generous odds at backing either to win with a clean sheet with Argentina at 9/4, and Colombia at 5/1. Finally, for the tipsters, the big money can be won on how the game will pan out on a HT/FT bet, so my gut tells me that Argentina will lead, only for Colombia to peg them back in the 2nd half. Therefore, an Argentina/Draw bet for HT/FT at 16/1 seems great value.

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