Tuesday 16 January 2018

World Cup team preview: Argentina

Sergio Aguero will be key to Argentina's hopes
Sergio Aguero will be key to Argentina's hopes

There are 31 days until the World Cup begins in earnest, we'll be previewing a team a day until the fun begins. Today it's Argentina.

Group F: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Tournament odds: 5/1

They are among the tournament favourites every four years and justifiably so.

They possess a star-studded squad and can call on the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez among others.

Doubts over the leadership of coach Alejandro Sabella has faded as their qualifying campaign went on and they should be capable of a very bold showing.

Their prospects have definitely been boosted by the kind draw which sees them face Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F. Maximum points will be expected and should be delivered.

How they got there

They opened their qualifying campaign with a fine 4-1 win over Chile but defeat to Venezuela and a 1-1 draw with Bolivia followed and things were not lucking great for La Albiceleste.

They did manage to regroup with a 2-1 win over Colombia in Barranquilla, which kick-started a 14-match unbeaten run through the remainder of qualifying, where they finished atop the South American table.

In qualifying, they scored 35 goals and conceded just 15.

Key player

Lionel Messi

It has to be the diminutive Lionel Messi. At just 26 he has already won most of the world's major honours but the biggest one of all still alludes him.

The four-time Ballon D'Or winner captain's his national side and is the catalyst for their best football.

He is continually accused of not being as effective for his country as he is for Barcelona and will need to be at the very top of his game to inspire his team to the ultimate prize.

Something you might not know about Algeria

At least one in 30 Argentines undergo cosmetic surgery, and due to the low costs of the procedures, it’s become a hub for cosmetic surgery tourism.

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