When people began to predict the winners of this year’s World Cup, there were only four teams that came up with any frequency. The hosts Brazil, the holders Spain, the young pretenders Germany and the South American outfit Argentina. However, looking at the strengths of these teams and the teams that win tournaments like this, Argentina don’t have the depth to take them all the way.
It’s silly to overlook the talent they do have in the squad, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuain are all quality players and that’s even before you talk about one of the greatest of all time, Lionel Messi. They can all turn a game on its head and possessing that amount is always an advantage, especially as head coach Alejandro Sabella brought them back to top form during qualifying.
But once you start looking deeper than that, the cracks start to show. For starters, not all of those players will start (it’ll most likely be Lavezzi to miss out) and after that you begin to see weakness. They aren’t as strong in the middle of the park, Javier Mascherano looks past his peak, Fernando Gago had to go back to his homeland to regain any form and only Enzo Perez looks like he’s hitting any form.
It only seems to get poorer, only Ezequiel Garay and Pablo Zabeleta look like good defenders despite Martin Demichelis’ good final half of the season and they still haven’t got a natural left-back. Then there’s the goalkeepers, comprising of Sergio Romero who played very little this season at Moncao, Agustin Orion who has very little international experience at 32 and Mariano Andujar who finished last with Catania in Serie A.
It’s a very hit and miss squad, you expect that kind of firepower to score goals but at the same time, that defence could be quite porous and against the wrong opposition they could unravel. They’ve been handed a favourable draw which only got better with the Netherlands win against Spain so they should still go far but they should worry about the possibility of someone like the Swiss who will defend well because if they can’t get through they are vulnerable at the other end.
The argument that no non-South American team has won a World Cup on their soil is a little dated, the last was 34 years ago and even then the final came down to extra time. They should still be seen as a side capable of winning but they are also a side primed for capitulating under the pressure. Whichever way it should go, if they fail or they are led by their hero Messi to glory, it certainly won’t be boring to watch Argentina in the World Cup.