The Argentina World Cup squad has been revealed for this year’s edition of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia but even with the overload of talent at their coach’s disposal, the footballing world still remains unsure if they’ll win the elite tournament this year.
Why, you ask? Well, because Argentina have lost 4 major finals over the past 11 years (including a 0-1 defeat in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final in Brazil) and luck hasn’t favoured them on the big stage, regardless of the presence of Lionel Messi, who happens to be one of the 2 best players in the world.
It’s almost sympathetic. Almost.
The word “almost” is what I emphasise on because Argentina has been the ones responsible for their downfall and no one else. Coach selection, squad selection, bizarre strategies, inexplicable squad omissions (especially this year) and what not.
So, can the hoodoo of losses be broken this year by Jose Sampaoli’s squad of misfits?
To find an answer to that question, let’s take a look how their squad has shaped up before the World Cup:
#1. The Front Line Is Brilliant, But Has No Chemistry:
Leo Messi, Paolo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega.
Any coach would go crazy at the prospect of such a mouth-watering forward line but you know how the ol’ saying goes that too many cooks spoil the broth.
We’ve seen it a few times that without Messi, Argentina’s attack is almost toothless and with him, they just can’t fit in the other forwards who excel at their own game because having a player of Messi’s stature on your team comes with a series of pros and cons:
Pros: He’ll play his game and will be individually brilliant, largely resulting in wins over B-tier and C-tier oppositions
Cons: It’s Argentina and not FC Barcelona, where the entire team is built around Messi as the central piece.
The incoherence of playing styles of the likes of Dybala, Aguero, and Higuain needs to be sorted out ASAP so that they can accompany Messi for a winning formula.
#2. An Almost Nonexistent Midfield:
I mean… Come on. All that firepower and no matchstick to light it is an irony in its own right.
Argentina are at a serious lack of good midfielders, which is bound to hurt them against teams that play on a counter attack or the ones that play high pressing football. Either way, Argentina’s midfield will be most likely to be overrun in both the scenarios.
The most obvious solution: Deploy Messi as a no. 10 to play behind the strikers and along with the wingers.
#3. Why Gonzalo Higuain And Sergio Aguero But Not Mauro Icardi?:
Higuain hasn’t been at his best this season and Aguero has been doing what he does every season. No, I’m not talking about scoring a lot of goals (which he also does) but I’m talking about him getting injured a lot.
Meanwhile, Mauro Icardi has been sensational this season with his 29 Series A goals for his club Internazionale, so much so that the club has made a return to the Champions League.
So, why did Jorge Sampaoli overlook an in-form striker in favour of a relatively slow (and unlucky player) and an injury prone player? Just like you, we are clueless.
But even after all the hoopla, Argentina have enough talent to stand a chance to win the World Cup, after all. They scraped through to the final last time in 2014 and might do it again, this year too.
Stay tuned and keep watching this space for more updates on the FIFA World Cup 2018 as the world’s most-watched sporting tournament starts from 14th June 2018.
Image Credits: Google Images
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