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Super Moderator⭐⭐
Staff member
Aug 13, 2008

Manager: Diego Maradona
Captain: Javier Mascherano
FIFA Ranking: 7
Group B

Background: One of the most historically rich teams in football, the Albacete have won the World Cup twice and alongside France are the only side which have won the three most important tournaments in football, as said by FIFA; the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympics football tournament, having won the Olympics in Athens in 2004 and then retained their title in 2008. Qualifications secured yet another World Cup, having successfully qualified for every tournament since they missed out in 1970.

Qualification: Narrowly qualified in fourth place through the South-American qualifying group thanks to a 1-0 victory over Uruguay in the last game of the campaign. Their lowest point was so low many people thought it was a joke, coming on 1st April didn't help as they lost 6-1 away to Bolivia in La Paz, after being at 1-1 after half an hour, Botero netting a hat-trick.

The Team
Strengths: Maradona has drummed a strong winning mentality into the players that will undoubtedly help but Argentina are also made up of small partnerships all over the pitch, particularly with Veron and Messi, that make their passing game flow and when it works it can break down any team.
Weaknesses: Maradona may not stand out as the most organised coach and this is shown in Argentina's displays, a lack of organisation and no clear style of play that makes them stand out from other teams. The defence is also vulnerable at times but fortunately strong defensive midfielders and players like Messi who can change the game cover up these weaknesses.
The Manager: The least and most experienced manager at this World Cup. Diego Maradona has more experience than anyone when it comes to World Cups, but less than any other manager when it comes to managing a side, and it shows. Usually plays 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 but seems to be a lot more interested in attack rather than defence, which is one of the Albacete's weaknesses.

Star Men: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
What do I need to say? The best player in the world. However, despite his amazing dribbling skills and many, many, many other skills, he has failed to produce the goods on the big stage and has also failed to live up to expectations for his country; his style of play suiting Barcelona's pass and go style more than Argentina's style of whatever feels right at the time.
Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes de la Plata)
Many thought the former Manchester United and Chelsea player's career was over when he headed back to Boca Juniors and then Estudiantes in Argentina. Despite these setbacks he earnt a surprise recall into Maradona's squad and has since thrived, forming an excellent partnership with Messi and his passing ability to spray the ball about is one of Argentina's biggest threats.

manor15's Prediction
Quarter-Finals. The squad definitely have the skill and strength needed to reach this stage but the disorganisation and any outbursts from Maradona could severely dent their campaign. Should Leo Messi turn up and play as well as he can then they could do well to reach this stage but can't see such a disorganised side with a weak defence reaching the final, only reaching the quarter’s as they would face a German team in the final which would be a tight affair, and the Germans have a superb penalty record.
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