No European team has won the world soccer championships in South America and teams from that continent should do well in this year’s tournament. The pressure on the host nation Brazil will be huge and another South American team could take advantage and the most likely country to do that is Argentina. .
Argentina won the world championships in their own country in 1978. Eight years later they were world champions again, this time in Mexico and inspired by the world’s best player at the time, Diego Maradona. He cheated for the first goal against England in the quarter-finals but his second goal was the best in the history of the tournament
Argentina do much better in competitions not played in Europe as they are suited to the playing conditions in their own continent. That is a significant fact for those that will be betting on the tournament. They did reach the final in Italy in 1990 but that was an average side that were fortunate to beat Italy on penalties in the semi-finals.
Lionel Messi was voted best player in the world for four years before Cristiano Ronaldo won the honour this year. Messi has always played for Barcelona and he is one of the main reasons that team have been so successful in recent years. Messi has not been at his best playing for Argentina in the world championships but it could be his time to shine in Brazil.
Messi has scored 37 goals in 83 appearances for Argentina. That is a decent return but not exceptional and nowhere near his tally of 365 goals in 455 matches for Barcelona. Messi first played for Argentina aged 18 but will be at his peak in Brazil this year.
Sergio Ageuro looks like being Messi’s partner in attack this summer. He was injured playing for his club Manchester City but should be fit for his nation’s first game. In 47 matches for Argentina he has scored 21 goals. Over the course of his domestic career he has scored slightly less than one goal every other game.
No player in the squad likely to be selected for Brazil has won more than 100 caps so the side will be relatively inexperienced. Six of the possible players selected play their club football in Spain, including Javier Mascherano who plays for Barcelona and has won 95 caps for his country.
Argentina qualified for this tournament by winning the qualifying group in South America. They won nine of sixteen matches, drew five and lost just two. They scored 35 goals and conceded 15 which means they had the best goal difference in the section, though this did not include Brazil who qualified automatically as hosts.
Argentina will play Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in their group and should progress by winning this section. As group winners they will get a kind draw in the last 16 which takes them to the quarter finals. They then have a great chance to progress and win the tournament again and in the third time in their history.