World Cup Team Profile - Argentina
Coach: Alejandro Sabella
Captain: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Full Argentina Roster
The Road to Rio: Argentina had little trouble getting through CONMEBOL qualifying, especially in the absence of the powerhouse Brazilians. The team suffered just two losses in the 16-game home-and-home qualifying stage, both coming on the road.
The first was in their very first away game at the hands of Venezuela, the other coming in the final matchday against a tough Uruguayan team, well after they had already secured their spot in the final.
As expected, the nation’s superstars powered the offence to help them to their 11th straight World Cup, with Lionel Messi putting home 10 qualifying goals. Gonzalo Higuain followed closely with nine while Manchester City striker Kun Aguero put five into the net.
Last World Cup appearance: South Africa 2010 (Quarter-Finals)
First World Cup appearance: Uruguay 1930 (Runners-Up)
Previous World Cup appearances: 15
Best World Cup finish: Champions (2 - Argentina 1978, Mexico 1986)
Under the leadership of Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, The South American nation looked like world beaters at the 2010 World Cup until they were demolished in the quarterfinal round by Germany.
With Alejandro Sabella now in charge, Argentina will be bringing a wide array of offensive weaponry to Brazil and will be able to cause problems for any team they encounter on what they hope will be a deep run into the tournament.
Their captain and key offensive weapon also happens to be arguably the best player in the world Lionel Messi. Barcelona’s top man had another strong season in La Liga and enters the World Cup on form and with a chip on his shoulder after failing to score in South Africa. If a motivated Messi isn’t enough, Argentina is also going to have Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero who struggled through an injury filled season with England’s champions but was still one of the league’s top scorers. Paris Saint Germain forward Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli round out an attacking threat that will punish and terrorize defenders.
Angel Di Maria will be counted on, just as he is at Real Madrid, to provide shape and playmaking ability from the midfield and to support all of the attacking power they will deploy upfront.
Defensively they will count on two other Manchester City players, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta who will feature in a backline that will not receive a lot of support from a mostly forward-thinking midfield. However, the tackling skills of Javier Mascherano will be important in transition to keep their defenders from being run at by similarly skilled offensive teams.
They didn’t drop a group game in South Africa and could very well repeat that feat in Group F in Brazil.
Where they go from there will be in the hands of Messi and what they hope is an in-form offensive unit.