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World Cup 2010: Argentina Profile

Coach: Diego Armando Maradona

Confederation: Conmebol
FIFA Ranking (Apr 10): 7
Previous Appearances: 14 (1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006)


Background

Argentina is one of the most successful national football teams in the world. The team has twice won the FIFA World Cup, in 1978 and 1986. The Albicelestes have won the Copa America 14 times, a record shared with Uruguay. They also won the Confederations Cup in 1992 and the Olympic Football Tournament in 2004 and 2008. Argentina and France are the only national teams which have won the three most important men's titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympics football tournament.

How They Qualified

Argentina qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a narrow 1–0 win against Uruguay in the last match of the tournament. The team finished fourth in the South American qualifying zone.

Strengths


Argentina have small partnerships that can make a difference. The most important one is Veron with Messi. Also important is the job Di Maria and Gutierrez do, marking and attacking down the flanks. Finally we must mention the winning mentality of the Argentine players.

Weaknesses

Argentina does not have a clear style of play. Its defence is not secure and attacks with disorder. However, there are players with great technique who can change the outcome of a match at any time.

The Coach

Diego Armando Maradona has little coaching experience and that is a disadvantage in a World Cup. He likes to play with a 4-4-2 tactical formation, but you can often see his team playing 4-3-1-2.

Star Men

Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Probably the best football player in the world today. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to football legend Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his 'successor'. Will be his second appearance in the World Cup

Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)

Mascherano was selected as captain of the national team. He won a second Olympic gold medal with Argentina in Beijing 2008. Former Argentine footballers Jorge Valdano and Jorge Solari regard him as possibly the best central midfielder in the world.

Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes de La Plata)

Veron is most famous for his vision and perceptive passing. He compensates his limited pace with his vast experience and vision. He also has a powerful long shot and set pieces. La Brujita (Little Witch), was chosen as the best player of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.

Best Footballing Moment

Just four minutes after the 'Hand of God' goal, came The ' Goal of the Century', so called because it is often claimed to be the greatest goal of all time. Hector Enrique passed the ball to Maradona ten metres inside his own half. 'Pelusa' then began his 60-metre, 10-second dash towards the English goal, dribbling past four players and finished the move by dribbling round Shilton to make the score 2–0 to Argentina in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Off The Pitch

Famous for: The Choripan, combination of its ingredients: a grilled chorizo and a crusty bread such as a marraqueta or baguette; and Tango, dance that has influences from Spanish and African culture, originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires.

Most likely to: Have seen the poor football his side played at the qualifiers, Maradona will need another Hand of God to save him from a total failure.

World Cup Objective

Undoubtedly, to go all the way to the final is the desire and objective of every Argentine player and fan. Only some brilliant football combined with bad luck can make them happy even without the trophy.