Maradona and Messi protagonists in Argentina betting profile

21st May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

After trimming his squad to the required 23-man squad needed for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Argentina boss Maradona has held his first training session. The World Cup winner has come under a lot of scrutiny since he took over a nation which was in a footballing mess in 2008. Argentina were seemingly heading backwards under Alfio Basile, when the services of Maradona were called upon, and still they struggled during in South American qualification zone. The World Cup legend has had a volatile and rollercoaster ride during his short reign, only securing Argentina’s place at the World Cup on the final day of qualification with a 1-0 win over Uruguay. As the Argentinean group gather for their first training session, there were still five of their stars, missing because of club duty, notably Walter Samuel and Diego Milito, who are taking part in the Champions League final for AC Milan.


With all of their struggles through qualification, Argentina have never been far from the top of Outright World Cup Odds and that is down to the sheer talent that is in the squad. At the World Cup draw, Argentina were drawn in Group B with Nigeria, Greece and South Korea, a group on paper, which they should be able to breeze through. But event though Argentina are right up there in the odds, there remains an air of unpredictability about them, and that is largely down to Maradona himself, who is inexperienced and has shown time and again that he really doesn’t seem to know what his best team is. Barcelona and World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi however, insists that Argentina are ready, and that there is no pressure on him or the nation.

Messi himself has been indicative of the problems which have plagued the international side, as he has been criticised for not showing the same enthusiasm which he has produced for La Liga Champions Barcelona. Messi hit 34 goals for Barca this season, and as a world star, a lot of eyes of course will be on him as the greatest football show in the World kicks off. It is because of the doubts which are making people overlook Argentina’s chances of winning their third title, that Messi believes will work in their favour as other teams may underestimate the South Americans. Casting an eye over the Argentina 23 man squad, the talent is clearly there, and it is probably fair to say that if they had a coach with a stern and organised game plan they would be even closer in World Cup betting to the favourites. Those are things which do not appear evident with the manager, who has often been in the headlines for the wrong reasons, such as speaking confrontationally out of line, running over a cameraman, and being attacked by his own dogs.

Clear and simply, Maradona as a player, wowed the world, but can he do the same as a manager? That is the main question when it comes to betting on Argentina at the World Cup. Argentinean fans are questioning his management, and there are little signs during qualification that they had progressed enough under Maradona to challenge the likes of Brazil and Spain for the World Cup title. There is definitely room for improvement, but if they can pull it all together as a team, then they should be a serious threat. They have the dominating figure of Walter Samuel at the back, and with Juan Sebastian Veron, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Diego Milito the key men in attack, there is some serious firepower there. Three English based players are in the squad, Jonas Gutierrez of Newcastle is in the squad, along with Liverpool’s Maxi Rodriguez and Javier Mascherano.

So the profile of Argentina would read “full of talent, but directionless.” There are no signs that Maradona has settled on a formation, nor which players fit correctly into his team. That could mean that more responsibility could fall onto the players to make the best of the situation, but even that has not been in evidence with the likes of Messi visibly underperforming when pulling on the shirt of the national side. The closest anyone has come to pinpointing just what Maradona is trying to do with Argentina, has been football pundits in the nation, who have seen signs of a defensive system, and individual improvisation when it comes to going forward. Argentina did run out 1-0 winners over Germany in an international friendly earlier in the year.

It may not be an Argentinean side which will be playing to their own real strengths, and that could be their downfall. However, they have three relatively easy games in their group and that could go a long way to building up both momentum and confidence. Argentina play Canada in an International Friendly on June 25th in Beunos Aires before heading to the tournament. Since qualifying for the World Cup, Argentina have been busy with friendly matches, but not against the toughest opposition. After losing against both Spain and Catalonia, Argentina have not really been tested, other than when they beat Germany in Munich on March 3rd. Looking back at the previous year, the signs of inconsistency are there, but can Maradona do what he did in 1986? Then the Argentina squad were in apparent dissaray and directionless, but Maradona led his nation on the field to the World Cup. Can he do it from the managers dug out this time?

Argentina World Cup History

  • Won two World Cups in 1978 and in 1986
  • Lost on penalties to Germany in 2006 at the Quarter Final Stage
  • World Cup Record: Played 65, Won 33, Drawn 13, Lost 19
  • Argentina have played and beaten Nigeria twice in World Cup history (1994 and 2002)
  • Argentina have played and beaten Greece once in World Cup history (1994)
  • Argentina have played and beaten South Korea once in World Cup history (1986)

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