Argentina v New Zealand – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

New Zealand return to Stade de France on Friday evening and are red-hot favourites to brush aside Argentina and book their place in the World Cup final.

The All Blacks booked a last-four spot by upsetting Andy Farrell’s Ireland with a pulsating 28-24 victory in Paris.

New Zealand boss Ian Foster is eager to avoid history repeating itself after a victory over the Irish derailed the Kiwis in the 2019 tournament.

Underdogs Argentina have won two of the past seven meetings between the nations, including a landmark first success on New Zealand soil – 25-18 in Christchurch – in last year’s Rugby Championship.

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New Zealand’s starting XV shows two changes, with wing Mark Telea and lock Sam Whitelock in for Leicester Fainga’anuku and Brodie Retallick.

Telea was dropped for last weekend’s clash with Ireland due to a breach of team protocols.

Argentina have made one change to the side that defeated Wales 29-17 in the quarter-finals, bringing in Gonzalo Bertranou for Tomas Cubelli at scrum-half.

Matias Alemanno, Agustin Creevy, Facundo Isa, Tomas Lavanini, Nicolas Sanchez, Guido Petti and Montoya are the survivors from the Pumas’ last  World Cup semi-final against Australia in 2015.

New Zealand’s choice to deploy three kickers makes it nearly impossible to pick who might get their first points on the board.

As for who will get the first try, in most All Blacks teams your money would be on a winger and Will Jordan has been in prolific touch throughout the tournament.

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Telea is on the other wing and has a point to prove and might be good for the combination of scoring a try and going into the sin bin.

The boot of Emiliano Boffelli is likely to provide the Pumas with their first points of the game. If Argentina are to upset New Zealand, you would expect a high penalty count against the All Blacks, which is something to consider if you fancy backing the Pumas to win.

Argentina are offered at generous odds for the win by most sportsbooks, including starsports.bet, with some more generous than others. This is a long shot, but considering the win earlier this season and the strange Rugby World Cup we’ve had, the Pumas might be worth a cheeky punt, but with the understanding that this is a bit of a long shot.

Juan Martín Gonzalez has done well to fill the No. 6 jersey for the Pumas, but the absence of Matera, who has spent time playing in New Zealand for the Crusaders, will be felt.

This is a dangerous New Zealand team, and they have to be the tournament favourites right now, considering the momentum they built with their win over Ireland.

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Author: Eugene Morris