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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group B - Argentina

Nickname – La Albiceleste

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

Would you ever imagined seeing Argentina qualifying 4th with disgraceful performances? Guess 2009 was that year. Losing 6-1 away against Bolivia and 3-1 at home versus Brazil were just some of the bad results. 2010 has been invincible for Maradona’s squad even though the only true competitive game was their away victory 0-1 against Germany. (Argentina 2-1 Jamaica/ Argentina 4-0 Haiti <>

8 wins / 4 Draws / 6 Losses – GS 23 GA 20 meaning 28 points out of 54.

H2H

Jun 12 Johannesburg Argentina v Nigeria - Argentina have never lost against Nigeria. Their most recent run sees them not conceding goals even though their defensive game is not the most brilliant.

Jun 17 Johannesburg Argentina v South Korea - Here’s another one that pulls the favoritism on the south American outfit. 3 matches and all of them won by Argentina. Warning – The results have been decreasing 3-1, 1-2, 0-1.

Jun 22 Polokwane Greece v Argentina - If football was made only about history and stats. Argentina would go through the second round with 9 points. Only one match played and they trashed Greece 4-0 with the detail that beyond the Batistuta hat-trick, Maradona’s scored a goal in that 1994 world cup, that I state as the best ever so far.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Diego Pozo (Colon)

Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso (Roma), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Walter Samuel (Inter Milan), Gabriel Heinze (Marseille), Nicolas Otamendi (Vélez Sarsfield), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes), Ariel Garce (Colon)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Liverpool), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina), Angel Di Maria (Benfica), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle), Javier Pastore (Palermo)

Strikers: Sergio Aguero (Atlético Madrid), Diego Milito (Internazionale), Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

FORMATION

Maradona works around a 4-3-1-2 formation with a lot of opportunities from midfield ahead – Sergio Romero; Heinze, Samuel, Demichelis, Burdisso; Mascherano, Verón, Di Maria; Messi; Higuaín, Tevez/Aguero.

BEST PLAYERS

Lionel Messi – If Larry Bird from Boston Celtics stated that Michael Jordan from Chicago Bulls as – “God come down to play basketball” then Messi must mean God in heaven & Messi on earth. He is and will be in years to come crowned world footballer of the year. A player that creates space wherever he steps into as well as uses his creativity, quick dribble and vision to assist and score a lot of goals out of his natural position was born to shine as a Messiah. You walk by faith not by sight and that’s how little Messi has defeated his growth hormone deficiency health problem. A luxurious number 10 that has delivered 86 goals in 143 matches in the last 5 seasons. He is currently 23 years old.

Verón – South American footballer of the year twice in a row 2008, 2009 must mean something. La Brujita has played for Boca Juniors, Lazio, Manchester United, Chelsea & Internazionale just to name a few gives you all the perspective that you are ahead of a prolific player. Even though he is 35 he uses that experience under his prominent vision and insightful passing crowning his high-standard profile with his infamous set-pieces.

Higuaín – 23 year old El Pipita plays for Real Madrid at the expense of benching Benzema, Raul and previously Nistelrooy, Saviola, Huntelaar. Overwhelming pace, intoxicating shots and strong sense of positioning are the best items to define Higuaín as a player. 27 goals out of 31 appearances – that’s his league mark this season.

Aguero – Kun Aguero, 49 appearances, 20 goals, 8 assists and 1 UEFA Europa League trophy this season are the numbers for the Argentinean starlet. Even though Maradona is his father-in-law, there seems to be a fair approach to football. Family offside; Football onside without any collisions. Ball Control, pace and finishing ability seem to sketch Aguero. He might be short of focus and derive selfishness, but so Di Maria does. And Angelito is a prospect to take a close look as well.

SURPRISE

The surprise omissions are Inter duo Zanetti & Cambiasso alongside Garay & Riquelme.

STATEMENTS

"I tell my players that 30 days of sacrifice for the chance to kiss the World Cup is nothing in the life of a man. An achievement like that is like touching the sky. I played in World Cups and I reached two Finals. I know what it takes. I know how to lead the group and how to coach the players. I've earned the right to talk about the subject. I didn't come eighth, ninth or get knocked out in the first round. I know something about this." Coach Diego Maradona

- DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA “El Pibe”–

Career made of 18 matches with 72% Win, 0% Draw, 28% Loss, GS 1,78 GA 1,17

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – A squad made mostly of players that represent the best competitions in Europe should tell you all. If that is not enough, then try to add the best footballer in the world, the most ever controversial icon in football and the finest striking power just to mention some of the epic proportion of the likes of Argentinean football.

In terms of facts, they have never lost against any of the sides they face in the group stages.

Weaknesses – The pressure of being the former 2 time World Champion. Maradona’s ever changing environment style that might confuse most of the players regardless their potential. At least in terms of group stages their less effective defensive back line won’t be a problem because of their prolific offensive line, but might be costly in the latter stages.

Opportunities – Other than just finishing first place with 9 points or potentially 7 due to ultra defensive Greek there are specific areas where Argentina can fail to attain in the first round.

Threats – Against all odds, Argentina getting caught napping on several defensive mistakes at the expense of dramatic offensive performances from South Korea and Nigeria.

The Argentinean most flourished garden getting all wilted due to high expectations.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

Argentina are in the position number 7 of the World Rankings ahead of England, Croatia and France; La Albiceleste is currently behind Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal.

ACHIEVEMENTS

2 World Cups – 1978, 1986;

14 Copa America ;

1 Confederations Cup;

1 Nation’s Cup; 1 Panamerican Championship; 1 Kirin Cup; 2 Gold Olympic Medal – 2004, 2008.

CASTROL INDEX

LAST 10 MATCHES

Argentina 1 3 Brazil

Paraguay 1 0 Argentina

Argentina 2 0 Ghana

Argentina 2 1 Peru

Uruguay 0 1 Argentina

Spain 2 1 Argentina

Argentina 3 2 Costa Rica

Argentina 2 1 Jamaica

Germany 0 1 Argentina

Argentina 4 0 Haiti

Argentina 5 0 Canada


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