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Messi & Co to face stern challenge vs Paraguay

Copa America champions Argentina face Paraguay as the Albiceleste look to continue their strong run of form in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

Lionel Scaloni’s men sit second in the table, unbeaten in their last 12 qualifiers, and take on a Paraguay side who remain in the hunt for a spot at the World Cup despite recording just two wins from nine games in the current qualifying tournament.

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The most recent meeting between the sides came in June at the Copa America with Argentina triumphing by a 1-0 scoreline.

Another win for the two-time world champions can be backed at 4/7 (1.57) with bet365.

The last time the teams met on Paraguayan soil the game ended in a goalless draw in 2015 and another stalemate is on offer at 11/4 (3.75) with Paraguay clear outsiders at 5/1 (6.00).

The hosts are without River Plate defender David Martinez and Brondby full-back Blas Riveros who have both pulled out of the squad.

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The visitors for their part are missing Juventus forward Paulo Dybala who picked up a thigh injury in his side’s win over Sampdoria in Serie A.

Lionel Messi is included in the squad and expected to play a prominent part having started every match in the qualifying tournament so far.

Last month saw Argentina claim convincing wins over Venezuela and Bolivia, the two bottom sides in the competition, although Paraguay should provide sterner opposition.

Eduardo Berizzo’s team have only lost at home to Brazil in the tournament and will be highly motivated against their more illustrious southern neighbours.

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Paraguay have shown in recent years they are more than capable of frustrating Argentina and the record in this fixture over the last five meetings is extremely even: one win apiece and three draws.

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While the visitors have more quality in their squad, they are likely to find it difficult to break down an organised side and backing another tight game looks appealing.

Under 2.5 goals has paid out the last five times these nations have faced each other and is offered again at 4/6 (1.65).

Combining this selection with both teams to score ‘no’ sees the odds rise to an appealing evens (2.00).

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Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.

Under 2.5 goals and both teams to score ‘no’ at evens (2.0) for a 1pt stake with bet365

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