Colombia vs Argentina: Messi and co are out to raise spirits after off-field drama

Argentina travel to Colombia as they look to take another big step towards World Cup qualification and continue preparations ahead of the forthcoming Copa America.

When: Wednesday, June 9, 00:00 BST

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best Bets

Argentina to win and BTTS at 5/1 (SkyBet)

Over 2.5 goals at 29/20 (Betfair)

Lionel Messi to score first at 24/5 (Unibet)

This World Cup qualifying game is taking place during a major crisis for South American soccer.

Two weeks before the continent's biggest soccer competition was about to get underway (the rearranged 2021 Copa America), Argentina and Colombia were spectacularly stripped of their hosting rights.

CONMEBOL's subsequent decision to move the tournament to Brazil has resulted in major backlash from fans, players and team representatives.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro welcomes the return of Copa America to his country
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro welcomes the return of Copa America to his country

Nevertheless, with fixtures coming thick and fast, there is little time to dwell on the off-the-field politics.

This upcoming World Cup qualifier is of great importance for Colombia who are desperate to improve their position in the standings.

Argentina, on the other hand, have breathing room in the qualifiers and can afford to experiment ahead of the upcoming Copa America.

Last Three Matches

Argentina 0-2 Colombia (Copa America - June 15, 2019)

The last encounter between Argentina and Colombia came two years ago when the nations clashed in a 2019 Copa America group stage match.

In spite of their all-start strike force - featuring Lionel MessiSergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria - Argentina failed to score on a disappointing night in Salvador.

Instead, two second-half goals from Roger Martinez and substitute Duvan Zapata sealed a famous victory for Colombia.

Colombia 0-0 Argentina (Friendly - October 12, 2018)

An international friendly at MetLife Stadium in America ended in a bore 0-0 draw.

Over 35,000 spectators went home rather disappointed after being treated to a measly seven shots on goal.

Argentina 3-0 Colombia (World Cup Qualifier - November 15, 2016)

In their previous World Cup qualifier, it was Argentina who turned on the style and walked away victorious.

First-half goals from Lionel Messi and Lucas Pratto gave the hosts a comfortable lead going into the interval.

A second-half effort from Angel Di Maria sealed the win and all three points for the Argentines.

Last ten head-to-heads

Colombia wins: 2

Draws: 3

Argentina wins: 5

Colombia goals: 5

Argentina goals: 9

Pivotal time for Messi's trophy hunt

Lionel Messi's pursuit of major silverware on the international stage goes on.

At the age of 33, it would seem that the next two years are pivotal if he is to finally cement his legacy as not only a Barcelona great but also a hero of his nation.

Lionel Messi training alongside Sergio Aguero
Lionel Messi training alongside Sergio Aguero

The 2021 Copa America is his immediate concern. The forward will be looking to use this upcoming clash with Colombia as preparation ahead of an all-important tournament opener with Chile on Monday.

Only three of Messi's 72 international goals have come against Colombia. But, with the side in poor form, the Barcelona frontman could be in for a field day.

Colombia looking to fix earlier mistakes

It's fair to say that Colombia's start to their World Cup qualifying campaign has been far from successful.

Colombia's James Rodriguez
Colombia's James Rodriguez

After losing 3-0 to Uruguay and 6-1 to Ecuador, the team did bounce back with a 3-0 victory over Peru last week.

Nevertheless, Colombia are currently sixth in the qualifying standings and face a fight if they are to make the top five.

Goalscorer bets

Colombia have been involved in some goal-heavy contests over their recent internationals.

Lionel Messi looking to improve his goalscoring record against Colombia
Lionel Messi looking to improve his goalscoring record against Colombia

Argentina, on the other hand, are coming into this game with most of their attacking stars fit meaning a goal-filled encounter is on the cards.

If there's going to be goals, Messi is sure to get among them. The Argentine forward is priced at 24/5 to score first.

READ MORE: Who will be the next Tottenham Hotspur manager?

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