Lionel Messi may have 5 Ballon D’ors adorning his trophy cabinet but the player is yet to lay his hands on an international trophy. After finishing as runners-up in the previous edition, Argentina are set to enter Russia with all guns blazing this time.
The World Cup is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious footballing events and only the chosen few are lucky enough to lift the trophy.
Last time, Argentina came quite close to winning the tournament but unfortunately for them, Germany laid their hands on the scintillating trophy. However, things are different now and the Argentinians will be hungry for revenge.
They have not tasted international success for a while now. As if the loss to Germany was not enough in 2014, Argentina also lost out on winning the Copa America to Chile in 2015 and 2016.
They find themselves in Group D this time and will have to play Iceland, who are already being regarded as dark horses. However, Argentina have a great chance of walking away with the trophy but will they go the extra mile?
Argentina are particularly strong when it comes to their attack. After all, they boast of having the likes of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero in their ranks.
Each of these players has been enjoying success at club level. Messi, of course, continues to be Barcelona’s star talisman whereas Dybala and Aguero have worked wonders for Juventus and Manchester City respectively.
In the previous World Cup, Argentina’s attack was one of the sharpest and that’s what enabled them to progress smoothly. Undoubtedly, their attack can fuel them to success in the upcoming World Cup as well. Messi, Dybala, Di Maria, Higuain and Aguero will have to be at their best on a consistent basis.
Argentina really need to work towards strengthening their defence. Having quality attackers up front will definitely bring in a slew of goals but it will be criminal if they are unable to defend it.
Even in the previous edition, Argentina conceded a lot of goals due to sloppy work at the back and considering how it might be the last World Cup for a lot of senior players in the squad, it will be crucial for the team to put up a stable back line.
Gabriel Mercado, Javier Mascherano and Nicolas Otamendi are likely to hold up the fort at the back and a lot will be riding on their shoulders.
Coach: Jorge Sampaoli
During his time with Chile from 2012-2016, Sampoli was famous for employing attack-oriented tactics and with players like Messi, Dybala and Aguero at his disposal, it is safe to assume he will not change his philosophy.
Sampaoli usually employs a 3-4-3 and while they have a fantastic front unit, it will be crucial for the coach to ensure the defence stays strong enough to weather the storm.
Key Player: Angel Di Maria
To play in a team with the likes of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe can be a daunting task but Di Maria seems to be unperturbed.
He has been involved with several goals at PSG this term and has created a whopping 45 chances in 27 Ligue 1 appearances as well. In addition to that, Di Maria has also scored 11 goals and he will undoubtedly be a key player for Argentina in the World Cup.
Based on what we have seen, Argentina have a solid chance of redemption if they stabilise their defence.
However, given the quality of the competition and teams participating in this World Cup, Sampaoli and his men have quite a task at hand. That said, we can definitely expect to see Argentina in the knockout stages but they might fall short of winning the World Cup at the end.