Lionel Messi is expected to return for Argentina who can fill their boots against Panama.
Argentina gained some revenge for their penalty heartbreak at last summer’s tournament by beating Chile 2-1 in their opening fixture in Santa Clara and they make the trip from the West Coast to Chicago where they face Panama, who also won their opening game 2-1 against Bolivia in Orlando, and as a result face a slightly longer journey for this one.
Were it not for a 93rd minute consolation foal for Chile, it would have been four wins without conceding in five games for Argentina, as they continue to show how strong they are defensively: they conceded in just two of their six games at last summer’s Copa and in only two of seven matches at Brazil 2014. When playing sides they’re ranked between 23 and 43 places higher than, Argentina’s record is W15-D7-L0 since 2010 and they’ve kept a clean sheet in six of the last nine of these games and scored more than twice in seven of their last nine wins.
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Like Argentina, Panama have been very strong defensively in recent times and the goal Bolivia managed against them was only the fourth they’ve conceded in their last eight. The Bolivia game was also something of a rarity for Panama as it saw more than two goals. They’re generally a very well organised and compact side under Gomez, who was a defensive midfielder in his playing days, and 16 of their 20 games going back to last summer’s Gold Cup had fewer than three strikes.
However, the majority of these were against sides that are nowhere near Argentina’s quality. When playing sides ranked inside the World’s top-10, Panama’s record is W1-D2-L8 since 2010 and they conceded nine times in the only two of these matches that were against top-five teams, Brazil and Spain.
Lionel Messi is expected to return and as a result they’re unsurprisingly as short as 1.2 for this one. The win to nil and Argentina Half-Time/Full Time double are also both sub-1.7 and with that in mind the best way to get Tata Martino’s men on side looks to be backing them on the Asian Handicap -2 at 2.10, given their strong scoring record against similar opposition in recent times. Indeed, Argentina have managed a couple of big wins in recent times including a 6-1 win over Paraguay at last summer’s tournament to go with a 7-0 friendly victory over Bolivia soon after and consequently -3 at 4.0 and even -4 at 9.5 are both worth consideration.