Argentina blessed their luck and Messi for a world cup ticket. The two times world champions waited until the last game of the qualification stage to scoop a place in the World cup finals. Argentina will be making her 18th world appearance which include 12th consecutive appearance since missing the 1970 edition in Mexico.
The Albiceleste were runner up in the last edition in Brazil, suffering a narrow defeat from the hand of Germany in the finals. The current Argentine team are victims of repetitive defeats in major tournament finals, 3 consecutive losses between 2014 and 2017.
Despite the great expectation from the South American side, the team have lost in two pre-world cup friendly against Nigeria and Spain. The team still have Israel to face before their first world cup game with Iceland. However, the team suffered a major blow after Sergio Romero was ruled out of the competition due to knee injury.
Moreover, Argentina are the highest FIFA ranked team in their group, as they will have to battle Iceland, Nigeria, and Croatia on their way to a possible 3rd world cup glory.
Just as it was in 1986, the Argentine have in their possession the world greatest player i.e. Lionel Messi. The Barcelona midfielder is also the national team’s highest goals scorer with 64 goals and have scored 563 career goals at club level.
Sergio Aguero is expected to be Jorge Sampaoli’s main man in the goal department. He is coming on the back of an exceptional season with Premiership winning Manchester City and have one final chance to stay up for his national team.
The 24-year old Paulo Dybala playing his trade in the Serie A with Juventus is another player to watch. Gifted with creativity and niftiness, he will be a handful for opposition defenses.
The History of Argentina at the World Cup
Champions: 1986, 1978
Runners-up: 2014, 1990, 1930.
The Final Verdict
Argentina start off with a tricky mission in Group D alongside Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland, three team who can be a nightmare to anyone on their day. One of my colleague at LeagueLane is already vouching for the Albiceleste to not progress from the group. To be fair, such a thing cannot be ruled out.
However, if they manage to win Group D, their journey till semifinals is expected to be easy and I am hoping for them to get at least into the last four. History says, they have never lost a semifinal, so will be see them again in the finals this year ?