Argentina – World Cup 2014 – Betting
Manager: Alejandro Sabella
Captain: Lionel Messi
FIFA World Ranking: 3
World Cup Appearances: 15
Best World Cup: Winners – 1978, 1986
Argentina Team Profile
Just the name ‘Argentina’ has this daunting affect on its opponents, and the Argentinians may not need to rely on their intimidating reputation this time around, as they are packed with world class talent and look to have a well balance squad.
With a relatively easy group awaiting them in the first stage of the 2014 World Cup, along with being familiar with the conditions in Brazil, many are looking at Argentina and seeing a lot of value in backing them to win outright. Whereas they struggled through qualification for South Africa 2010, there were no such dramas this time around, topping the CONMEBOL zone. They have strengths all over the pitch and to boot they have tremendous match winning individuals in their ranks with Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero up front.
They are class, they have a tremendous pedigree but it has been a while since they have delivered on the world stage. If they can get their top influences playing well right from the start, there is a chance that they will just grow stronger. They just aren’t about their superstar names, they are more of a united team than ever and that makes them a much bigger threat.
The complete unpredictably of Diego Maradona from South Africa 2010 has gone to be replaced by the much more efficient and pragmatic style of Argentine Alejandro Sabella. A former midfielder, the 59 year old only made eight appearances for his country during the 80’s but has done a lot of good things since taking charge of the national side back in 2011. He was charged with the top job after Argentina crashed out early in the 2011 Copa America, which was a massive step up because he was due to take over at UAE league side Al-Jazira Club. Sabella is the reason for Lionel Messi being captain of the Argentinian squad and el Mago (the Magician) may just have the factor of substance over style that the South Americans need to grab their third World Cup title. At the close of 2013, Sabella had lost just four of 31 matches in charge, with a 61% success rate.
Argentina Key Players
The names which fall into this category are going to be pretty obvious. While he has been underused by Argentina before, notably at the 2010 World Cup, Lionel Messi is still the star man of the side. A fully fit Messi has all the tools needed to carry La Albiceleste to glory, and how they would enjoy doing it in their neighbour’s back yard. They’ll be hoping that he is fully fit and back at his peak, after missing chunks of the first half of his domestic season with Barcelona because of injury. Argentina just need to get the ball into his feet around the edge of the box, and Messi will do the rest. Perhaps the superstar of superstar players, he has arguably yet to produce his very best on the world stage. What may help him this time around is the fact that now he is surrounded by some tremendous talent in a well-balanced side. It’s not bad options when you can call upon Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain to support him.
The unsung hero of the Argentine side will be Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano. The former Liverpool player will be the heartbeat of the midfield for them and you never seen him put a foot wrong, whether it is with distribution or breaking up an attack. He isn’t going to be a name which attracts a lot of attention in games, but that is when you know that he is doing his job of keeping the side ticking along by being their engine room. By far the most experienced player in the side, and they’ll need to call upon that.
Argentina look a much more efficent side under Sabella. They found plenty of goals through their qualification round robin and perhaps it was how well they fought in tricky away matches during qualification which sets them up well for a World Cup shot. They needed that bit of grit added to them, and while they were defeated in Uruguay and Venezuela during qualification, they dug in well enough in their other matches, and there are no easy away games in South America. The strengths are going forward, and you can’t look past the individual strengths that Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain bring to the party. They have massive match winners in the side and they now have a much more organised system behind them with which to flourish in. They’ll be hard to keep off the scoresheet.
As usual the biggest weakness with Argentina is probably going to be their defence. They look much better than four years ago, but they still conceded at a rate of almost a goal per game during qualifcation. They looked to be a little bit of a Jekyll and Hyde side, convincing and fluent in their home games, but not hitting their same stride on the road, being more concerned about losing. Maybe that will add up to a good combition at the end of the day, in seeing them win easy matches convincingly, and having the ability to scrap through tough games. They are a little inexperienced at the back though and haven’t quite found their best back four.
Argentina Qualification for the World Cup
Sector: South America
Goals Scored: 35
Goals Conceded: 15
Argentina Qualifying statistics:
- Lionel Messi scored 10 goals, Gonzalo Higuain 9 during qualfication
- Argentina won just three of their eight away matches during qualification
- Argentina averaged over two goals per game during qualification
World Cup Potential: 5/5
Argentina really are up there in terms of chances of walking away with the title. The inconsistency of four years ago have all but been demolished and they look more of a settled, well rounded side. Throw into their potential prolific attack and you have a very strong team on your hands. They will definitely be looking to go further than their quarter final exit from South Africa four years ago, where they were hammered 4-0 by Germany. Going up against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F, there shouldn’t be too much there to trouble them at all and it could, worryingly for the rest of the main contenders, give them a good chance to settle into the tournament a get up a head of steam. No team from outside the continent has won the World Cup when hosted in South America, La Albiceleste have what it takes to keep it that way.
Argentina World Cup Betting Odds
Argentina to win the World Cup: 9/2 Paddy Power
Before the World Cup the odds on Argentina were 7/1
Argentina World Cup 2014 Fixtures – Group F
|Su 15th June||23.00||Argentina v Bosnia||2:1|
|Su 15th June||20.00||Iran v Nigeria||0:0|
|Mo 16th June||17.00||Argentina v Iran||1:0|
|Sa 21st June||23.00||Nigeria v Bosnia||1:0|
|We 25th June||17.00||Nigeria v Argentina||2:3|
|We 25th June||17.00||Bosnia v Iran||3:1|
World Cup 2014 Group F Table