Great entertainers can keep a clean sheet in Group F opener.
Argentina, two-time winners and beaten finalists on two other occasions, are strongly fancied to go all the way by many in Brazil this summer.
There is no questioning the all-round quality of their squad and they probably have the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, though Cristiano Ronaldo’s fans would argue that point.
Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Sergio Aguero will all feature prominently and Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid and PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi are also class acts. Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli scored nine goals in their qualifying campaign which saw them finish top of the South American section with just two defeats in 16 matches.
Much is expected of Alejandro Sabella’s squad and they should comfortably qualify for the knockout stages but Messi remains something of an enigma at international level, despite scoring 10 times in qualifying.
If he can be persuaded to reproduce his club form in Brazil, the Barcelona maestro could easily be the star of the show but opposing teams are certain to be paying him special attention and he has had his injury problems over the last 12 months.
The Argentinian goalkeeper, Sergio Romero might also be a weak link and it will be interesting to see how he copes if Edin Dzeko decides to test his resolve in the opening exchanges.
Dzeko has had a terrific season at the Etihad and will be looking to get under the skin of his club colleagues. The Bosnia-Herzegovina side will also feature Stoke’s Asmir Begovic, who was almost solely responsible for the goalless draw his team achieved in Athens that ultimately saw them top their qualifying group.
This is Bosnia’s first-ever finals and Safet Susic’s squad are determined to make supporters at home proud. But they could hardly have had a tougher start in the Maracana as they were easily beaten by Argentina in a friendly in November. That said, the Bosnians are pretty good defensively and may decide this game is a damage-limitation exercise with easier tests against Nigeria and Iran to come.
Argentina are unbeaten since they secured qualification and have racked up plenty of clean sheets lately. They can be backed at Evens to shut out Bosnia-Herzegovina in Rio de Janeiro and those are decent odds as their opponents are unlikely to want an open game. Under 2.5 total goals is 10/11.
The match kicks off at 11pm UK time tomorrow, Sunday, June 15th in Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro.