Argentina: World Cup 2014 FIFA Team Preview @TheRoyaleIndia

Argentina: World Cup 2014 FIFA Team Preview

June 15, 2014 149 0 0

Alejandro Sabella @TheRoyaleIndia

Coach:Alejandro Sabella

FIFA rank:5

Formation:4-3-3

World Cup History: Champions (1978, 1986), Runners up (1930, 1990), Quarterfinals (1966, 1998, 2006, 2010)

After a 4-1 win against Chile to begin their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign, Argentina then stumbled against Venezuela and drew 1-1 at home to Bolivia, which raised doubts as to whether coach Alejandro Sabella, who took over after Copa America 2011, was up to the task.

La Albiceleste, however, got back on track with 2-1 win over Colombia in Barranquilla, which began Argentina’s 14-match unbeaten run through the remainder of qualifying, where they finished atop the South American table. Argentina tallied 35 goals while only surrendering 15 on the way to winning the preliminary competition for the third time.

However, the current Argentina team is unlike the earlier teams. They are more balanced and efficient, have better players and have a pragmatic coach in Alejandro Sabella. Also, any team which has a certain diminutive Argentinian with the no.10 jersey on his back has to be considered one of the favourites.


History at the World Cup

Argentina have contested four FIFA World Cup Finals in all, the first of them at the inaugural tournament, Uruguay 1930, when they went down 4-2 to the host nation.

It was not until 1978, that they featured in another final of the grand show-piece, winning it controversially with a score line of 3-1 after extra time against the Netherlands, who lost their second consecutive World Cup final.

In 1986, they once again repeated the heroics of 1978, as the team inspired by the then 26-year-old Diego Maradona, beat the formidable West Germany, 3-2 in the finals at the end of normal time. The German team at that time comprised of legends like Lothar Matthaus, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller, amongst others.

However, West Germany had their revenge in the next edition of the World Cup as they got the better of Argentina in the finals this time, beating them by a score-line of 1-0, courtesy of an 85th minute penalty converted by Andreas Brehme. This was the last time that Argentina featured in the finals of the World Cup.

Squad

With the landmark achievement of claiming four consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Ors (2009-2012), Lionel Messi in the undisputed leader of the Argentina national team and a multiple-trophy winner with Barcelona.

Breaking all kind of goal-records, La Pulga is now looking to achieve greatness with his country after failing, somewhat surprisingly, to find the back of the net at South Africa 2010. Supporting him will be an all-star cast featuring Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria, all of them on top of their game with some of Europe’s leading clubs.

The absence of Willy Caballero also raised eyebrows, but Sabella has shown with his selection that he isn’t afraid to take bold decisions, and that he will select only those players whom he trusts completely.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors)

Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Man City), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Martin Demichelis (Man City), Jose Basanta (Monterrey)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Enzo Perez (Benfica)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Man City), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St Germain), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter)


Manager

Alejandro Sabella took over the reins from Sergio Batista after the culmination of the disastrous Copa America campaign on home soil. The national team has since only been defeated on four occasions out of the 32 games played.

Sabella had previously been associated with the Argentinian national team on two occasions, once as a player and the other as the field assistant to the then manager, Daniel Passarella (1994-1998). Sabella had won 8 caps for the National team.

Player to watch out for: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi @TheRoyaleIndia

Messi can do it all and is approaching, if not already in the prime of his footballing career. With the tournament on his home continent, the little genius will surely not get a better chance to sample World Cup glory.

Under Sabella, he has been operating in an advanced role on the right-hand-side, with Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero joining him in a fearsome looking triumvirate of attacking players. But they are a flexible trio; giving Argentina’s attacking forays wonderful flexibility.

Best starting XI

Balance is a key word for Sabella, who has built a harmonious squad, who get on well on and off the pitch.

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

Defence: Pablo Zabaleta, Federico Fernandez, Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano, Fernando Gago, Angel Di Maria

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain

Prediction

Argentina can never be considered an under-dog for any tournament and are more than capable of beating any opposition on their day. They might not have the best defence in the world, but they certainly possess the best attack in the World, which helps them even the odds.

An easy group against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria awaits them at the World Cup, which they should easily be able to win and advance to the last-16 of the tournament and book a place with a second-placed team from Group E, which consists of France, Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland.

The extremely talented squad under the able guidance of Sabella, should easily progress to the quarters of the tournament, when the tactical know-how of Sabella will play a huge part in breaking the jinx.

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