Nickname: Albiceleste (White and Light Blue)
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: 7
Argentina will be making their 15th World Cup appearance and their tenth consecutive. They have won the World Cup twice, in 1978 and 1986. They were seeded in Group B alongside Greece (ranked 13th), Nigeria (ranked 21st) and Korea Republic (ranked 47th).
Argentina qualified for the World Cup in fourth place out of the South American zone qualification. It was a very difficult qualification road, especially after Maradona took over as coach and began trying, arguably, way too many different combinations of players. Despite the struggles Argentina managed to win its last two games and take the last automatic qualification spot in South America. Many Argentines actually find this hopeful, though; the last time Argentina struggled to qualify like this was for the 1986 World Cup, in which a Maradona-led team went on to win the World Cup. Everyone in Argentina hopes that Maradona can recreate that magic now as a coach.
Argentina are currently favored to emerge on the top of this group, and, after an impressive victory against Germany in Munich on March 3, many are saying they may have regained their form. The big match-up in this group does not appear to be the clash with Greece but the game against Nigeria on June 12. If Argentina can come away from that match with a victory, expect them to come out first in the group and make a serious run at the trophy.
Argentina is loaded with talent, especially at the forward position. There they are led by Lionel Messi, who at the age of 22 is already regarded as the best player in the world. Joining him up front will most likely be Gonzalo Higuain, another 22-year-old who is a very complete forward. Higuain lacks experience, but in the five games he has played for the national team he has already scored two goals. Another forward to pay attention to is Carlos Tevez, who hustles all over the place and is capable of making a play and scoring at any time. Rounding out the scary list of talent at forward for Argentina is Sergio Aguero. Aguero has all the skills to be the best forward in the game but lacks consistency; however, he is also only 21 years old.
The experience for this team comes in the midfield, where Maradona has turned to 36-year-old Juan Sebastian Veron. Veron was a key figure in the latter stages of qualifying and is undoubtedly crucial in helping lead this young team if they are to make a run at the cup.
This team is captained by an amazing defensive midfielder name Javier Mascherano. If you understand soccer you can’t help but admire this kid. He plays harder than anyone on the field and is able to singlehandedly shut down the world’s best players. Even though he is now the captain of this team he is still underrated by fans because he simply does the dirty work for the team. He is not a goal scorer or really even to be feared on the attacking side but he is still essential to this team’s success.