Argentina vs Jamaica | Saturday 20 June | Estadio Sausalito, Vina del Mar | 23:30
Tournament favourites Argentina will be looking to secure top spot as they face a homesick Jamaican side. These two have met three times before and it won’t be a surprise to learn that Argentina have won on all three occasions. They beat them 6-0 and 5-0 in 1975 and 1998, with their last meeting ending in a 2-1 win for Argentina back in 2010.
To Win (90mins)
Argentina secured their first win of the Copa America by beating defending champions Uruguay 1-0 thanks to a superb diving header from Sergio Aguero. The victory for Argentina puts them even at the top of the Group B table with Paraguay on four points and with their place in the quarter-finals already set in stone, La Albiceleste will be looking to secure top spot as they attempt to claim their first international trophy since 1993. Highlighted by the likes of Lionel Messi, Aguero, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria, the side coached by Gerard Martino features a free-wheeling attack paired with a midfield that can grind you into a fine paste. They haven’t yet played to their full potential in attack but you get the feeling they’ve been sharpening their blades for an onslaught such as this. This is one of the best Argentine sides in recent memory and expectations are sky high. They need to start showing tangible proof that they're as good as people think they are, and fast. Messi is supposed to be the saviour who brings glory back to his nation. He nearly did it in Brazil last year and is arguably in better form this time around with a mature squad that should know how to win. Messi moves through the gears at pace, with his close control and superb skill meaning he can beat players and take Argentina up the pitch within seconds. His mobile play and diagonal movement is a nightmare for defenders which makes it literally impossible to man mark him. He has a great burst of pace, quick feet, and very good agility, all of which allows him to breeze past opposition defenders.
Jamaica face the mammoth task of beating South America’s top ranked team but playing against one of the best teams in the world might give them an extra boost of motivation. The Reggae Boyz are bottom of the group following 1-0 defeats to Uruguay and Paraguay and will need to claim maximum points to stand any chance of progression. Coach Winfried Schafer and his Jamaican side will need to do the unthinkable by beating the 2014 World Cup runners-up but with a side that defends deep and has some players capable of showing explosive pace on the counter, plus Darren Mattocks' athletic gifts up top, Jamaica can create trouble if you give them any leeway to work with. The Reggae Boyz aren’t blessed with world-class stars such as their opponents but they have some capable players in the team— Crystal Palace’s Adrian Mariappa and Leicester City’s Wes Morgan provide a solid base, Rodolph Austin, who currently plies his trade at Leeds United, drives the team forward in midfield and attacker Simon Dawkins gives them some spark upfront. Quick, tricky and a strong finisher, Dawkins will be Jamaica’s best chance of nicking a goal and springing a surprise against La Albiceleste.
VERDICT: Both Teams to Score 31/20
Argentina have a star-studded team with the likes of Messi, Aguero and Di Maria leading a lethal team that is superior to Jamaica in all departments. La Albiceleste are a certainty to beat their opponents as they aim to top the group but are far too short at odds of 3/20. Argentina showed their defensive frailties in their opening game against Peru and with Jamaica needing nothing less than victory to stand a chance of qualifying, Both Teams to Score is well worth a punt at 31/20.