Women’s World Cup Prediction: Italy vs. Argentina Women – July 24, 2023
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP PREDICTION: ITALY vs ARGENTINA WOMEN – July 24, 2023 — Forget what the world rankings say: Italy genuinely believes that it’s the best side in Group G. Four years ago, the Italians made a splash by topping their group and winning a knockout stage game, eventually falling in the last eight to the Netherlands.
But after finishing bottom of the group at the 2022 Euros, Italy has slipped to 16th in the world, as it’s been mostly a defense-heavy side for the past two years.
Tale of the Tape
In its past 12 matches, Italy has scored more than twice just once, and that was against hopelessly overmatched Moldova.
Usually, taking UNDER 3.5 goals in an Italy match has been an easy way to make money, as the Italians excel at defense but haven’t exactly shown much of a nose for goal.
With Italy struggling last year at the Euros to put balls in the net, defense might again be how the Italians make their living..
Argentina’s women have lived in the shadow of their men’s team for their entire existence, and the shadow only got larger when the men won their third World Cup last year.
The women haven’t come anywhere close to that success, as they’ve never won a match in World Cup play. But they have come a long way from the side that took an 11-0 loss to Germany in 2007; they notched a scoreless draw with Japan four years ago, then ruined Scotland’s World Cup by overcoming a 3-0 deficit and forcing a draw.
Argentina still has a ways to go before it can realistically think of lifting a trophy in the women’s game. But for the first time in its history, advancing past the group stage isn’t a crazy notion.
When: Monday, July 24th at 2 a.m. EDT
Where: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Spread: Italy -1/Argentina +1
Moneyline: Italy -200/Argentina +475/Draw +310
Totals: Over 2.5/Under 2.5
Odds courtesy of DraftKings.
Either Milena Bertolini’s decision to leave out Sara Gama will work, and she’ll be hailed as a genius, or it’s going to collapse without the captain and Italy will bow out early.
Gama was key to directing the back four for much of the past two decades, but she’s now 34 and Bertolini believes that the Italians now have better options at their disposal.
For her to be right, Laura Giuliani has to keep playing like a world class keeper in the net and Italy needs more up top from its strikers.
Valentina Giacinti and Cristiana Girelli came up big for Italy four years ago, but the Italian attack was missing in action last year at the Euros. In a manageable group that included Iceland and Belgium, Italy finished bottom because it scored just twice and conceded seven. The Azzurre simply have to be better at both ends of the pitch this time.
How ready is Argentina for what awaits it in New Zealand? On one hand, short of South Africa, no other side will be as prepared for the climate of the Southern Hemisphere as the Albiceleste. On the other, the Argentines haven’t exactly tested themselves in the leadup to the World Cup.
They haven’t given up a goal in five of their past six matches, but only the two matches with host New Zealand came against a side that’s going to be at the World Cup.
In two matches against Spain and Canada in 2022, the Argentines got outscored by a combined 9-0. They’ve never done well against European sides, posting a combined 1-9-2 mark against UEFA competition.
They do have some talent with midfielder Lorena Benitez and forward Estefania Banini leading the charge, but they’ve never been able to put things together against quality competition. Against this defense, they might struggle to find space.
Italy and Under 3.5 (+120)
Italy’s lack of attack has given bettors a consistent way to win on the Azzurre.
The under is usually the play, and with the Italians being the stronger side against a side that’s likely to try to avoid taking a big loss, there’s opportunity for a plus-money play.
Italy isn’t likely to put up a large number of goals based on past performance, and playing a bit more conservatively offers insurance against an Argentina goal.
Second Half Higher Scoring (+100)
With Argentina needing to keep the margin close to try to stay in the group race, both teams will likely take their time getting going in this match.
Last year, Argentina took a 2-0 loss to Canada, a side of similar stature to Italy. The Canadians needed almost 70 minutes to break through, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Italy take as long.
Italy rarely goes for more than two goals, and Argentina has a history of playing defense-heavy at the World Cup. Italy should come out ahead, but it’s likely going to be a slog. I’ll back Italy 2, Argentina 0 (+500).