World Cup Betting Profile: Argentina

With an array of attacking talent, Lionel Messi et al are among the favourites to lift the trophy and Phil Kitromilides says they have a great chance of being the highest scorers
Boasting on paper the most talented attacking lineup in the world, Argentina will make the short journey to neigbouring Brazil as second favourites behind the hosts, with Paddy Power offering them at 9/2 (4.50).

However, coach Alejandro Sabella surprised many when announcing his provisional 30-man squad, as he was unable to find a place for Carlos Tevez, with the Juventus striker's 19 Serie A goals not enough to earn a call-up.

Instead former Wigan front-man Franco Di Santo was named among the 30 after a season with Werder Bremen which saw him net four times in the Bundesliga.

Yet goals should not be a problem for a side who boast Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria - scoring them, at least.

In defence is where the major question marks remain for the Albiceleste and, having not been capped for nearly three years, Manchester City's Martin Demichelis has earned a recall to try to add some solidity at the back.

Indeed, during qualifying Argentina struggled to keep clean sheets, with only three in their last 11 matches.

In theory it did not do them much harm as they comfortably finished top but that may be an important factor to consider when it comes to the latter stages of the World Cup.

The group stage, however, should prove extremely straightforward, with the South Americans drawn alongside Nigeria, Iran and Croatia.

Argentina are offered at just 2/9 (1.22) to finish top but perhaps more tempting is the price of 7/2 (4.50) for Sabella's side to be the highest-scoring team in the competition.

Given the calibre of their opponents, one could readily expect such a talented side to enjoy at least a couple of high-scoring victories which could well be enough to prove this particular selection correct.

Argentina's World Cup Squad - 9/2 with Paddy Power
Goalkeepers Defence Midfield Attack
Sergio Romero Ezequiel Garay Fernando Gago Sergio Aguero
Mariano Andujar Federico Fernandez Lucas Biglia  Lionel Messi
Agustin Orion Pablo Zabaleta Javier Mascherano  Ezequiel Lavezzi 
  Marcos Rojo  Ever Banega  Rodrigo Palacio
  Jose Maria Basanta Angel Di Maria  Gonzalo Higuain
  Hugo Campagnaro  Maximiliano Rodriguez  
  Nicolas Otamendi  Ricardo Alvarez  
  Martin Demichelis  Augusto Fernandez  
  Gabriel Mercado  Enzo Perez  
  Lisandro Lopez  Jose Sosa  
    Fabian Rinaudo   

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid