Argentina Team - 2014 World Cup Betting
Best Finish: Won in 1978 and 1986
Manager: Alejandro Sabella
Captain: Lionel Messi
Star Player: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Group F: With Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria
Argentina has been looking to replicate their glory period from 1978 to 1990, when they reached the World Cup Finals three times, winning the coveted title twice. Facing these lofty standards, failing to advance past the quarterfinals since 1990 has been a disappointment. But if ever there was a time for this team to break the plateau, it's now.
Argentina is coming into the 2014 World Cup with plenty of steam after finishing atop of the brutal, two-year CONMEBOL qualifying stage. They tallied a 9-5-2 (W-D-L) record in this 9-team, double-round robin stage, where they battled against other South American powerhouses like Columbia and Chile.
Lionel Messi netted 10 goals in 18 matches for Argentina during the CONMEBOL qualifiers. Hailed by some as the world's best footballer, Messi definitely lived up to the billing in leading a vaunted attack. After failing to score a goal in the 2010 Cup, expect the "Atomic Flea" to be very fired up this time around. And even when Messi doesn't find the net, he'll help his team by pressing opponents and freeing up teammates for shots.
Some of his most notable teammates include Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain. The latter was fantastic during the qualifying stages, tallying nine goals. Aguero and Lavezzi also played well by finding the net five times and three times, respectively. So even if teams make it a point to shut down Messi, they'll have to contend with Argentina's plethora of attackers.
Aside from a fearsome offense, this team will benefit from playing on their home continent. The Brazilian heat will definitely wear some teams thin this summer, but don't count on Argentina being one of them. Given that they'll be playing very close to home and have an extremely talented group, it's little wonder why many analysts are predicting at least a semifinals appearance for Argentina. If everything falls into place for Messi and company, they could be earning their first World Cup title in 28 years.