World Cup: Look Out For – Argentina
By Paul Downey.
With the World Cup in South Africa just over a week away, today we will assess the first potential team to ‘Look Out For’ for the greatest prize of all – Argentina. Despite a very scrappy qualifying campaign, Maradona’s charges managed to get over the finish line and now represent a genuine threat.
Argentina in recent World Cups looking back have had an abundance of attacking talent, whether it be Batistuta, Claudio Lopez, the erratic Claudio Canniggia or even Maradona himself. The difference this time round, is simple: Lionel Messi. Ask any Arsenal fan about the diminutive forwards talents, which they saw first hand so devastatingly in the Champions League this season. Add to Messi, the likes of Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Champions League winner Diego Milito, and you have one or maybe more shouts for the Golden Boot.
Defensively there will always be questions marks though, the surprise omissions of Javier Zanetti, Gabriel Milito and linchpin midfield man Esteban Cambiasso were baffling from El Diego. Another omission that could work in their favour though, is Fabricio Collocini’s cut from the 23-man party. Despite a decent campaign with Newcastle United in the Championship, he remains a liability at the highest level.
What they can boast in their defensive ranks though is experience, Gabby Heinze, Walter Samuel and Martin Demichelis have all shone on the big stage before and they will need to be at their best to insure Argentina go far. Lest we forget Italy’s triumph in 2006 was built around a solid, experienced back line which shipped just two goals in the whole tournament.
The midfield especially centrally boast a very work-man like template, with the ageing Juan Sebastien Veron expected to pull the strings alongside Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano. Of course Juan Roman Riquelme has retired from the international scene, and Pablo Aimar has been overlooked, so alot will depend on Messi.
What also works in their favour is their group, which boasts three winnable games in Nigeria, South Korea and Greece, but as we have seen in the past the Argies must prove it on the pitch. Just ask the French who were eliminated in the Group Stages in 2002, having won the trophy on home soil in 1998. There could also be a potential Quarter Final meeting with England or even their conquerors in 2006 Germany.
Due to attacking talent alone Argentina will always have a chance in South Africa, how they fare defensively could be the key to their quest for glory.
How do you think Argentina will get on in South Africa?
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