May 22, 2006
Random World Cup Facts: Argentina
Times Qualified: 14
Best Finish: Winners (1978, 1986)
YouTube Goal: Instead of showing a typical Diego Maradona goal, I went a different route. In this 1998 clip, Gabriel Batistuta slots home with a cool finish for the only goal against Japan in the group stage.
Top Political Issue in Argentina: President Néstor Kirchner came out this week against the United States trade policy in South America. Kirchner is part of a new trend of leftist leaders in the region.
Football in Argentina: Since the World Cup was created, Argentina has been a dominant side capable of winning. It 1978 they finally broke through with a side that featured Ozzie Ardiles. Eight years later, Diego Maradona and Jorge Valdano could not stop scoring as they lifted the trophy again.
The Argentine Primera División is home to high quality play and some of the best clubs in South America. Boca Juniors and River Plate are the two most well known clubs with numerous league and continental titles attesting to their dominance. However, the league does not supply many players to the national team with most electing to go to Spain or Italy to earn more money.
Players to Watch: Carlos Tevez (Corinthians) and Leo Messi (Barcelona) are two of the most exciting young players in the world. Their talent alone may take them far in the tournament. But they are weak in defense as seen in the shock callup of Lionel Scaloni (Deportivo).
Chances: This team is filled with plenty of talent and they will likely cruise through the group quite easily. The later rounds will finally see them face a challenge of some sort.
Prediction: A disappointing semifinal finish.