WORLD CUP FORECAST: Group F – Will Argentina be the attacking force they promise to be?

When at the peak of their powers, Argentina are one of the most powerful teams in world football.
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When at the peak of their powers, Argentina are one of the most powerful teams in world football.

Alejandro Sabella possesses a plethora of top quality players, particularly in attack, who have the ability to score with apparent ease.

However, a team full of star-studded performers at club level does not necessarily have the right to gel on the international scene and that is the issue Sabella has to tend to.

There is no doubt that La Albiceleste have the talent and flair to go far in the tournament but putting everything together in the games that matter will be crucial.

Past teams probably underachieved by making it to the quarter-finals which shows just how much is expected of the Argentines.

2014 is another opportunity to prove the doubters wrong and the 23 players Sabella has assembled now have the chance to capture the essence of the World Cup-winning teams of 1978 and 1986 and bring glory back to the Argentine people.

Argentina

Manager: Alejandro Sabella

Fixtures: Bosnia & Herzegovina - June 15 (Rio de Janeiro), Iran - June 21 (Belo Horizonte), Nigeria - June 25 (Porto Alegre)

Past outings against group opponents: Argentina have played Bosnia twice for two wins. The latest meeting was a 2-0 friendly win to the South Americans in November 2013.

La Seleccion have met Iran just once before for a 1-1 draw in a friendly back in 1977.

Argentina and Nigeria have met six times previously with the Albicelestes winning four, drawing once and losing once. They have played the Africans three times in the World Cup for three wins in 1994, 2002 and 2010.

Key players: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Angel di Maria (Real Madrid)

World Cup utopia: A semi-final or final berth, although expected by the Argentines, would send the country into raptures.

Doomsday scenario: Finishing out of the bottom two would be a nightmare. Failing to make it past the Round of 16 would be seen as subpar.

Qualified by virtue of: Finishing top of CONMEBOL qualifying

Best result at a World Cup: WON (1978, 1986)

tribal’s forecast:

The holy trinity of Messi, Aguero and Higuain hold the key to Argentina’s fortunes.

The world is waiting to see firsthand the brilliance of the much-loved Messi who according to some, had a below par season with Barcelona, despite scoring over 40 goals.

He has the ability to singlehandedly win matches for his country but luckily for Argentina, there are some fairly handy performers acting as his fodder.

Aguero scored 28 goals in 34 outings for City last term while Higuain blasted 24 for Napoli. Add to that the dazzling runs of di Maria and the scoring know-how of Maxi Rodriguez, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio and you have a stellar attacking force.

The defence led by City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis is sturdy and holding midfielders Javier Mascherano and Fernando Gago will bring added security to the back four.

If ever there was a time for a team to show their full potential, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil might be just the stage for Argentina to meet expectations, but they will have to successfully navigate some massive teams along the way.

Whether they can effectively achieve that is another question…

Prediction: Semi-finals.

 
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