La Albiceleste has played 5 Word Cup finals winning just 2 of them in 1978 beating the Netherlands 3-1 in extra time and in 1986 led by Diego Maradona winning against West Germany 3-2.
Argentina, beaten by Germany in the last Word Cup final in Brazil, went through 3 different managers in the qualifying South American campaign and required a hat-trick from their superstar striker Lionel Messi to beat Ecuador 3-1 in the last match to ensure a place in Russia. They are 5th favorites to win the competition being priced at +900 with William Hill. La Albiceleste were drawn in the Group D, also called “the group of death”, together with Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.
Argentina’s legend Maradona admits that the national team cannot perform any worse than they are doing right now despite having some brilliant players in the squad and that they need to improve if they want to win the World Cup trophy in Russia. Argentina’s coach, Sampaoli is monitoring more than 60 players before deciding the 23-player squad for Russia and is planning to travel in Europe to watch them on action and discuss with their club managers. They will play 2 friendly games in preparation for the World Cup – on March 23 against Italy and 4 days later against Spain – and they are checking the possibility of playing 2 more friendly games in May to be in the best shape in Russia. With less than 4 months till the start of the World Cup, Messi and Co. are trying to regain popularity and respect of their fans declaring that they will put all their energy into winning the World Cup trophy for the 3rd time.Key players:
- Goalkeeper – Manchester United’s No. 2 goalkeeper Sergio Romero seems to be Sampaoli’s 1st choice. He was desperate to leave the Red Devils in the January transfer window as he believes that the lack of games might affect his presence at the World Cup.
- Defender – Despite declaring that he will retire from international soccer after the Word Cup, former Barcelona’s player Javier Mascherano will definitely be the 1st choice in Argentina’s defense together with Manchester City’s Otamendi.
- Midfielder – PSG’s Angel Di Maria who has won over 90 caps for his national team, believes Argentina are amongst the best teams in the World feeling confident that his side stand a great chance to win the competition and return home with the title for the 1st time since 1986.
- Striker – No doubt Barcelona’s Leo Messi is top class, a fantastic competitor, one of the greatest players in the soccer history achieving everything in his career but the World Cup trophy. The captain of the national team, Messi is always dangerous and has the ability of deciding games on his own. If Sampaoli can get the best out of Messi, the Argentinians have all the reasons to believe that their side can win the tournament. For the beauty of the game, the soccer Gods will give Messi the chance to win his only missing trophy.
If Sampaoli decides to use the best available players (Juventus’s Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala and Manchester City’ Sergio Aguero) Argentina enters the tournament having the best-attacking line. They are all enjoying a great season with their clubs, leading the top scorer charts and fighting to win their domestic leagues.World Cup Schedule:
June 16th vs. Iceland
June 21st vs. Croatia
June 26th vs. Nigeria
To win the tournament at +900 with Betfair
To reach the final at +400 with PaddyPower
GROUP D Winners at -175 with Ladbrokes
Leo Messi Word Cup top goalscorer at +1000 with BetVictor
We can simply not ignore the price for Leo Messi to win the top goalscorer award. We need Argentina to qualify at least in the quarter finals and Messi to perform at his highest level. He is set to be rested more frequently during the remainder of the season in an attempt to boost his performance in the most important games.
Top pick: Messi – World Cup top goalscorer at +1000 with BetVictor.