Placed in Group F with Bosnia, Iran, and Nigeria, Argentina will need to avoid looking past the group stage. Yes, they easily have the most talented squad in the group and are ranked 7th in the FIFA rankings, but Bosnia can be a surprising foe. Argentina is assumed to be one of the favorites entering the big competition and Manager Alejandro Sabella will certainly have them ready to go. Having won two previous World Cups (1978 and 1986), this year’s Argentina squad has a plethora of attacking talent. Qualifying didn’t present much problems to Argentina as they breezed through these games. They haven’t gotten past the quarterfinals since 1990 in Italy and there is little reason to say this year’s team isn’t capable of breaking that streak.
Players to Watch For
Lionel Messi – Some may say why even put him here, because everyone knows the importance he serves as one of the greatest players in the world. Having already won four straight FIFA Ballon d’Ors (2009-2012) and countless other awards and trophies with Barcelona, the one thing he is missing is bringing a World Cup home to Argentina. The 26-year-old Barcelona forward has had another fantastic La Liga campaign with 28 goals and 11 assists. Is this the year he truly takes over for Diego Armando Maradona as the greatest Argentine?
Sergio Aguero – Along with Gonzalo Higuain, they will be Messi’s right-hand men in the attacking front. The 25-year-old striker is fresh off a title-winning campaign with Manchester City and is in the prime of his career. Despite some injuries this past season, he still produced 17 goals and 6 assists in 23 English Premier League games. Aguero has a creative nature in his game and capable of scoring at many places in the box. However, with all of the talent on this Argentina team, he will need to be more impactful than he has been in the past with the national team.
Pablo Zabaleta – Considered to be one of the key defenders on this team, Zabaleta will need to avoid making any mistakes and help hold down the defense. As with teammate Aguero, the 29-year-old Zabaleta is coming off the Manchester City EPL title. His play, along with Martin Demichelis, will be critical on the backline.
Group Stage Games
June 15 vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
June 21 vs. Iran
June 25 vs. Nigeria
Argentina has a favorable schedule starting with the group stage. After this, it will likely be France or Switzerland, which Argentina is more than capable of defeating. In the end, I have Argentina falling to Spain in the semifinals, which would be a solid World Cup campaign for them. However, the possibilities are endless with this team thanks their long number of attackers starting with the great Lionel Messi.