Argentina – World Cup 2010 – Betting
Manager: Diego Maradona
Captain: Javier Mascherano
FIFA World Ranking: 7
World Cup Appearances: 14
Best World Cup: Winners – 1978, 1986
Argentina Team Profile
Just the name ‘Argentina’ has this daunting affect on its opponents, and the Argentine’s may need their intimidating aurora to play a huge part during their stay in South Africa, as to say Argentina were inconsistent during qualifying is an understatement.
Diego Maradona was the man put in charge by the Argentina football hierarchy and midway through qualifying they must have been wishing they hadn’t. Argentina were supposed to cruise through South American qualifying, leaving the rest of the South American nations to battle it out for the remaining two spots. That certainly wasn’t the case however, as Argentina scraped through by the skin of their teeth and only just snatched the last remaining qualifying position by virtue of a 1-0 win in Uruguay in their final qualifier. Argentina are in South Africa though, not without their fair share of good luck mind, and now that they’re here they mean business.
Despite a rocky qualification, Argentina are still rated No.7 in the FIFA Rankings, while almost every bookmaker has the Argies rated as the fourth best team in the tournament according to their outright odds. We would strongly disagree after watching an awful lot of them throughout qualifying, but we can also understand that Argentina possess some nifty players, none more so than the World’s very best, Lionel Messi. However, Messi, a player who the natives don’t exactly idolise, will have the pressure of an expectant nation upon his shoulders in South Africa and the 22 year-old, who still has tonnes of time to mature and improve his already wonderful game, hasn’t always shone for his country, so to expect more magic from the Barcelona maestro might be a rash assumption.
Nevertheless a team with tonnes of International pedigree and they themselves will fancy their chances in South Africa, so understandable the Argentine’s will be a popular punt for the FIFA World Cup as they seek out their third World Cup success, their first since 1986.
Where do we start with the ‘controversial’ character which is – Diego Maradona. Many fans around the globe will remember him fondly for his memorable displays in an Argentina shirt, even guiding them to a World Cup success when he captained the side back in 1986. However, for England fans, he will be remembered for his cheating antics in the quarter-final which seen him put the ball into the England net with his hand. That game with the English defined his career as he went on to score what many pundits tout as ‘the goal of the century’ as he weaved through what seemed the entire England squad to score a sublime solo goal. In that game the whole footballing worlds seen the very best and the very worst of the Argentine great and now the world will need to brace themselves again as the lively and charismatic Maradona aims to guide Argentina to another World Cup success, this time as coach.
Diego Maradona has managed two clubs before taking over the role as national team coach but with little success. He took over what is a talented group of players with his country but he has yet to either find the right selection or formation, or perhaps even a combination of the two, to improve Argentina’s performances on the pitch. He has come under mass amounts of scrutiny, mainly from those outside of Argentina in all fairness, but the Argentina board have shown their faith in the Argentine legend in a bid that it might just pay off in the form of a successful World Cup campaign in South Africa.
Argentina Key Players
It didn’t take us long to highlight who Argentina’s most influential player is, Lionel Messi. Quick feet, the ability to leave a player standing in awe, bags of pace, skills and tricks in abundance and a very precise and clinical finisher in the final third. Messi can turn any game right on it’s head as one mazy run or one piece of trickery can open the game right up in Argentina’s favour. The entire squad has struggled to adapt to Maradona’s tactics but Messi is the exception to the rule. He can score or create a goal out of absolutely nothing and he will be the man every opposing manager will pinpoint as the biggest danger.
Diego Maradona has put his faith in the Liverpool midfielder to guide his side to bigger and better things at the forthcoming finals. Mascherano has nailed down a starting berth in the Liverpool as a solid and reliable defensive midfielder. However, he has now not only nailed down a starting spot in the Argentina fold but he has also secured the captaincy of his country, arguably his greatest honour as a player. However, he hasn’t had the instants impact many, including Diego Maradona, had expected as captain so the pressure will be just as much on him as the manager himself.
Well, it’s hard to look past Lionel Messi being Argentina’s biggest asset in South Africa as he’s a football genius. Quick and nimble footwork, this unique ability to weave in and out of the tightest defences, good vision and awareness, great ball retention and a prolific goalscorer. From a forward perspective, Lionel Messi has it all. Everytime he picks up the ball, the crowd goes silent as they know something special is in the offing whether it’s a jinxing little run or a quick yet precise shot on goal. If Argentina need a goal and Messi gets hold of the ball, be afraid as the kid, who is still just 22 years-old, can punish you with aplomb.
Another player who can and will score goals in South Africa, providing Maradona starts with him, is Gonzalo Higuain. The Real Madrid forward was prolific during the previous campaign. He has a decent turn of foot, he’s great at getting into those scoring positions while he’s a very composed finisher of the ball. Dare we say it, if Higuain gets a starting role at the forefront of the Argentina attack in the summer, we would put a fair wedge on the Real Madrid forward outscoring his Argentine team mate Lionel Messi.
The two we’ve just mentioned are, of course, forward players, so the strength with Argentina is quite obviously really in that they have plenty of goals in them.
Our biggest criticism with Argentina would be their poor defence. That isn’t at all surprising when you consider that Diego Maradona, the Argentina coach, never did a single bit of defending in his life as a player. That’s no way to run a football team though, despite boasting some great riches in the final third. Their defence needs tightening up before they clash with some of the World’s elite nations because it was leaky during qualifying, with even some of South American’s smaller nations locating Argentina’s goal with alarming regularity.
Another negative, and this one is a big pet hate with us, is Maradona’s tinkering. We don’t recall the great man ever recalling the same eleven for two matches in a row, while players with very few international caps were being called up in what appeared a desperate bid to get Argentina through their sticky situation during qualifying. If you watched Argentina during qualification you would have noticed a lot of stray passes, a lot of smart forward runs by the strikers which went unnoticed, while the organisation at the back was non-existent. This is because Maradona hasn’t given the team enough time to get to know one another and form some team chemistry. No-one was on the same wavelength, and against the very best footballing nations, Argentina will come unstuck unless they come together as a team. With Diego Maradona as manager, we have our doubts over whether sufficient changes will occur before Argentina kick-off their World Cup against Nigeria.
Argentina Qualification for the World Cup
Sector: South America
Goals Scored: 23
Goals Conceded: 20
Argentina Qualifying statistics:
- Argentina severely struggled on their travels in qualifying, losing five of their nine away fixtures.
- Lionel Messi was the only player to be chosen to play in each of their qualifiers, participating in all eighteen of their World Cup Qualifiers.
- Sergio Aguero, Juan Riquelme & Lionel Messi all shared the honour of being Argentina’s top goalscorers with four goals each.
- 4 (Half/50%) of their wins came by just a one goal margin.
- Diego Maradona used a total of 49 players during the course of the campaign, which just highlights how much tinkering he has done during his spell at the Argentine helm.
- Carlos Tevez appears a fiery character when playing for Argentina, receiving two of the three red cards that Argentina received during qualifying.
World Cup Potential: 4/5
If we were to be brutally honest about Argentina’s chances in South Africa, we would say they were slim. They are inconsistent, lack cohesion and have a manager at the helm which we simply do not rate in the slightest. Nevertheless, this Argentina team is pack full of world-class individuals, the type of individuals which can hand handle the Big Game pressure, the intense limelight and, more importantly, know how to win games. At club level the majority of these players have a deadly desire to win, that winning mentality that has helped their respective club become successful, but for their country they have failed to replicate that desire and determination, and without those key characteristics, we don’t see Argentina winning this summers showcase event.
However, while Argentina were hugely disappointing throughout qualifying for South Africa, the fact they even managed to qualify is a statement of intent in itself, and one that spells out in bold letters that Argentina just know how to get the business done when it really matters. It doesn’t matter how they got here, that’s all irrelevant now. All that matters now is bringing home the bacon in South Africa, and considering this Argentina team has goals in them, they will be a big threat to Italy’s World Cup crown.
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
Official Argentina World Cup Squad
Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar)
Mariano Andujar (Catania Calcio)
Diego Pozo (Colon de Santa Fe)
Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille)
Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich)
Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield)
Walter Samuel (Inter Milan)
Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Nicolas Burdisso (AS Roma)
Ariel Garce (Colon de Santa Fe)
Javier Mascherano (FC Liverpool)
Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United)
Angel Di Maria (Benfica Lisbon)
Mario Bolatti (AC Florenz)
Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Javier Pastore (US Palermo)
Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool)
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)
Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid)
Diego Milito (Inter Milan)
Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors)
last update: 18 June 2010
World Cup 2010 Argentina Fixtures – Group B
|Date - Time||Group||Match||Result|
|12/06 - 12.30||B||South Korea - Greece||2-0|
|12/06 - 15.00||B||Argentina - Nigeria||1-0|
|17/06 - 12.30||B||Argentina - South Korea||4-1|
|17/06 - 15.00||B||Greece - Nigeria||2-1|
|22/06 - 19.30||B||Nigeria - South Korea||2-2|
|22/06 - 19.30||B||Greece - Argentina||0-2|
27/06 – 19.30 – Round of the last 16: Argentina – Mexico
World Cup 2010 Group B - Table
|Rank||Team||Matches / Points|
|1||Argentina||3 Matches / 9 Points|
|2||South Korea||3 Matches / 4 Points|
|3||Greece||3 Matches / 3 Points|
|4||Nigeria||3 Matches / 1 Point|