The first World Cup was played way back in 1930, and since that time, only 8 countries have hoisted the trophy. This is one of the reasons why the favorites for any given tournament are generally those with a history of success in the tournament. Argentina is routinely in that mix, as they have won the World Cup twice, although you need to go back to 1986 to find the last time the did so. There have been a few close calls since then, but this is a team that has been accused of underachieving while having the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, in their ranks. Can they make amends for past failures in 2018 FIFA World Cup?
— Diego Zandrino, FIFA (@FIFAWorldCupARG) June 4, 2018
Argentina’s World Cup History
Argentina lost to Uruguay in the inaugural World Cup Final in 1930, and had to wait until 1978, the year they hosted the tournament, to win it all. They won it again 8 years later in Mexico, but it has been a bit of a drought since then. Argentina has been in 11 consecutive World Cups, and besides winning it twice, they have also been runners-up twice, including at the last World Cup when they lost in the final to Germany. This is a team with a rich history in the tournament, yet they are still considered a bit of a failure in the Messi era.
How Argentina Made it to the 2018 World Cup
There was a moment during qualifying when it looked as though Argentina might be on the outside looking in. They buckled down in the last few games of the South American qualifying group and made it in. This team struggled the most in the games they had to play without the injured Lionel Messi, which is a little concerning when you consider that this is a very talented squad. There is a feeling that this group relies a little too heavily on Messi as opposed to playing as a team.
Who Will Argentina Face in Group D
If Argentina is to be crowned World Champions in Russia, they are going to need to take a very difficult path there. They were drawn into Group D, which is about as close to a group of death as you can get. The main competition will likely be Croatia, but Iceland proved their worth with a great run at the European Championships a couple of years back, while Nigeria will not be a total pushover.
Argentina Strength’s and Players to Watch
The obvious strength of this team is having the best player in the world in the line-up, but the good news for Argentina is that they do not need Messi to do all the scoring. In Sergio Aguero, they have a proven goal scorer who has been successful at the highest level with Manchester City. Angel Di Maria is another player who can wreak havoc on defenses when he is on his game.
Argentina has the potential to be among the best in the world with the squad of players they have to draw from, but they very often fail to gel as they should. If they can come together in this tournament, which they just might when playing on a group of this quality, they could just finally get Messi the one trophy he wants more than any other.
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