WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Argentina

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Argentina

COACH – Alejandro Sabella
BEST SHOWING – Winners 1978, 1986
QUALIFICATION – 1st in CONMEBOL
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 5/1 (BetVictor)
FIXTURES
June 15th – Bosnia & Herzegovina (2300 BST, Rio de Janeiro, BBC)
June 21st – Iran (1700 BST, Belo Horizonte, ITV)
June 25th – Nigeria (1700 BST, Porto Alegre, ITV)

Button Bosnia Button Iran Button Nigeria

 

It seems strange that Argentina haven’t advanced beyond the last eight since Italia 90 but there always seems to be a distracting influence. Whether it be doping scandals, worries about the coach or the clashing egos of players, the Argies seem to not reach the heights they can.

Ex-Pig Alejandro Sabella came into the coaching seat after a poor 2011 Copa America and has stamped his own mark on the team aided by Lionel Messi starting to look like the player he is for Barcelona – Argentina head into the World Cup with optimism.

Sabella likes a 4-3-3 but if he errs on the side of caution he will employ a 5-3-2.

Sergio Romero is the goalkeeper but he hasn’t played a lot of club football this term. Mariano Andujar and Agustin Orion provide the back-up.

My guess at the central partnership would be Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay with Pablo Zabaleta and Marcos Rojo as the full backs.

The further up the field you move the stronger the Argentinian line up gets – Javier Mascherano, Fernando Gago or Lucas Biglia can act as ball winners and attack starters. They’re also deadly accurate with their passing but when you look at their attackers they look a very potent bunch – Messi, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Rodrigo Palacio are an enviable bunch to call upon.

The Argentinians will play a direct game and can counter attack with devastating pace, quickness and accuracy. They don’t really depend that much on one individual and they hope their attack can overcome any defensive weaknesses.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

05 WORLD CUP GarayGaray started his career at Newell’s Old Boys before moving to Spain and Racing Santander and helping them qualify for the Europa League.

A stint at Real Madrid didn’t really work out as he fell out of favour under Jose Mourinho but he’s come off a good season in Portugal, chipping in with more than his fair share of goals and as part of a tight defensive unit, forging an impressive partnership with Luisao.

Comfortable on the ball and well versed in reading the game and being in the right place at the right time to make that crucial interception or nip an attack in the bud, Garay’s also good in the air and is a good passer who will look to feed the ball to the attackers to set up that lethal counter attacking game.

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

Argentina come into Brazil as one of the favourites and you can see why. Full of attacking talent, the benefit of a relatively easy group and a route to the last four that isn’t the most difficult.

Messi hasn’t had the finest of seasons for Barcelona but it’s still not been a shabby effort plus Aguero, Di Maria and Higuain can hurt any team on their day.

Sabella has looked to attempt to forge a squad unity and left some of his more vocal players out of the squad but he’s also forged a team that have a lot of goals in them and despite the defensive question marks, only Colombia conceded fewer goals in CONMEBOL qualifying.

In South American conditions it’s hard to look past Argentina. They’re beatable but if everything clicks it’ll take a bloody good team or an Argentinian implosion of egos to stop them.

 

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VERDICT

They should reach the semi-finals and have the talent to lift the trophy. This should be a tournament where the Argies shine.

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Diego Mara-Dan-a (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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