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Argentina World Cup Team Preview

Argentina

Odds to Win World Cup: +750

From the 1978 World Cup to the "Hand of God," Argentine soccer has always been right up there with Brazilian soccer for bragging rights in South America. Once again, Argentina should be in for a strong showing in South Africa in the '10 World Cup.

How They Got Here: Qualification was in doubt for quite some time for the Argentines. They needed to beat Uruguay on the final day of qualification to assure that they weren't going to have to play in the home-and-home playoff, which Uruguay ultimately played in and beat Costa Rica to qualify the hard way. Still, manager Diego Maradona was sweating in a big way, as his job as coach of his homeland would've been in serious jeopardy had he not brought his club to South Africa.

Player to Watch: Many accept M Lionel Messi to be the top player in the entire world. He just cashed in on a Spanish Primera championship with Barcelona, which is arguably the best side that club soccer has seen in decades. Though Barca won't be playing for the Champions League crown, the fact that it scored 99 points in league play this year was a feat that had never been accomplished. Messi led Spanish Primera with 34 goals this year, a pair of which came in the decisive 4-0 victory on the final day of the season against Real Valladolid.

Previous World Cup Experience: If Argentina was to capture the trophy this year, it would be the third time that the Cup returned to its home soil. Maradona was the man that had the most to do with the 1986 World Cup, which marked the second time in three tries that the Argentines had captured glory. This is Argentina's tenth straight qualification for the World Cup, and is their 20th appearance overall. They have played in four total WC Finals, most recently in a 1990 loss to Germany. The last time that the world saw Argentina in the World Cup, it was breaking out in a brawl against Germany following a shootout loss in the quarterfinals. F Maxi Rodriguez had the goal of the last World Cup when he struck a bicycle kick out of midair in extra time to eliminate Mexico from the Round of 16, and he'll be back for the light blue clad boys from South America in this World Cup as well.

Key to Advancing: Just don't fall off the horse! Argentina, ranked seventh in the world coming into this tournament, has drawn arguably the easiest group. Anything less than nine points in three matches would be awfully surprising, as the Argentines should outclass every team that they run up against.

Predictions: Assuming that Argentina wins Group B and France takes Group A, there shouldn't be anything standing in Maradona's way between his country and a trip to at least the quarterfinals of the World Cup. However, with as poorly as this team qualified against a relatively weak South American division overall, there is definitely some skepticism that suggests that this team may not actually be around that long. Don't be shocked if one of the favorites of this event gets run out of South Africa a tad prematurely with an upset in the first knockout round, particularly if the hosts are the team that Argentina has to face.

Round 1 Schedule
Argentina vs. Nigeria (June 12th, 10:00 AM ET, Johannesburg)
Argentina vs. Korea Republic (June 17th, 7:30 AM ET, Johannesburg)
Greece vs. Argentina (June 22nd, 2:30 PM ET, Polokwane)

All Odds for 2010 World Cup from Brobury Sports


Odds to Win Group B
Argentina -225
Greece +700
Nigeria +400
Korea Republic +900
Odds to Advance Group B
Argentina -900
Greece +160
Nigeria -120
Korea Republic +200

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