Argentina are one of the best attacking teams in the competition with an embarrassment of riches up front. With star man Lionel Messi and his compatriots being in great attacking shape, Alejandro Sabella would love to coach the Argentine team to their third World Cup title. But they would have to be resilient and deal with tough opponents to fulfil their dream. Their past few campaigns have led to disappointments with earlier than expected exits and with the quality they have in their attacking ability, Argentina are firm contenders for the title and would look to do much better than their recent quarter final exits.
Style of Play
Argentina like to play a very attack minded game, almost neglecting the defending at times. More often than not, they are very successful in demolishing their opponents with multiple goals. Their defence is shaky and have succumbed to counter attacking teams before, especially against Germany last time, when they lost 4-0 simply while failing to defend.
Argentina like to utilize their strike force to full ability and with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Higuain playing the first choice roles for strikers and with replacements available in the form of Lavezzi and Palacio they have got able substitutes who can change the game as and when needed. Even with the marquee exclusion of Carlos Tevez, Argentine attack is arguably the best in this World Cup.
The main tactics that the Argentinians would use, would be to make Aguero and Messi dominate the proceedings behind the poacher striker Gonzalo Higuain. Both Messi and Aguero like to play together as creative strikers, as both are deadly finishers, world class dribblers and have a vision for a key pass at times. With the main midfield stalwart Javier Mascherano, they would have a holder who would keep the ball rolling and would provide the Brazuca to them.
Their main worry would be their defending that is below the standards set by their offense. Pablo Zabaleta is the only natural full back in the team, and the only world class defender. With an average defence, the main style of play would be to avoid playing from the back. The defenders would not be expected to do anything more than just pass the ball to Mascherano and the other midfielders and the main onus of the defence would be on the Barcelona man. Zabaleta would also have to curb his attacking instincts and would need to showcase his resilient side. The Argentine back four may not be world class, but they do step up with good performances and can be considered a decent group of players who would perform best when the pressure would be relieved off the team by the strikers.
Another reason for worry can be the goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who hasn’t been the first choice goalkeeper for his club Monaco. He has always been the keeper for Argentina in recent times but he is relatively unknown for a team of such stature and star power.
Strengths: Flair, Pace in the team and the presence of ruthless finishers.
Weaknesses: Inexperienced defenders, Lack of resilience at times.
Key players: Lionel Messi(c), Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano, Pablo Zabaleta, Higuain
Likely finish: Semi Finalists
Most Probable Team: Romero; Zabaleta, Garay, Fernandez, Rojo; Mascherano, Gago, Di Maria; Messi, Aguero, Higuain