FIFA World Cup Preview: Argentina Counts on Lionel MessiPublished June 10, 2014 by OCR Editor
Brazil 2014 presents Argentina's captain Lionel Messi a golden opportunity to shine and break his country's 28-year World Cup drought.
Argentina will be a very interesting team to watch for this World Cup, as there is a lot going for the team including the locality playing in next-door neighbor Brazil. It's not just remaining in the continent but also the fierce rivalry between the Argentinians and Brazilians which lights things up. Argentina will be more than happy to win a World Cup on Brazilian soil.
The 2010 World Cup saw Argentina smoothly cruising its way to the quarter-finals where it was smashed 4-0 by a steamrolling Germany. As a coach, Diego Maradona failed to reproduce his huge contributions to the team in their World Cup wins in 1978 and 1986. The sudden death of Argentina against Germany left millions shocked, and Argentina will certainly try to fix that impression in Brazil.
Argentina's luck certainly played for the team when it was drawn to play with Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria in group F. Not belittling any of these teams, but Argentina is over-qualified for that group with the biggest challenge posed only by Nigeria. Bosnia and Herzegovina's national team which made it for the first time to a World Cup has won the prestige of meeting Argentina for the first game on June 16th. Argentina will muster the strength to pass the group stage and get to the knockout stages; the question how they'll fare there depends on their skilled roster.
Key Player: Lionel Messi
Whether he brings his nation a World Cup or not, four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi will go down in history as one of the best players of our generation. While Messi has done great in his team Barcelona, he really wants to leave a lasting impression on his national team, serving as captain. Messi has a name to live up to, and this World Cup presents him with a golden opportunity to shine. No man is an island though and that is a good thing, because in Argentina's offense Messi will be joined by top players Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain who could do wonders together if the chemical works.
Player to Watch: Angel di Maria
Angel di Maria contributed greatly to Real Madrid's Champions League title this season. One of the top midfielders in Europe, he's got a sense for great assists and knows how to move the ball on the attack. Di Maria will have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders as he'll be required to both support Argentina's weak defense and pass the right balls to the strong offense - if he manages to get the balance right, Argentina could get far.
Defense a Weak Point
Argentina's defense remains the team's weakest point, something which could be crucial if the team gets to meet high flying teams like Germany again. The weakness showed in the World Cup qualifying games where Argentina conceded 15 goals in its 16 games. If Argentina's defense stands up to the test, we could very well see the Argentinians lifting the trophy.