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Argentina - Can Messi And Co Go All The Way

Argentina head to neighbouring Brazil as one of the favourites not only for the group, but for the whole tournament with the likes of four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi in their ranks, and will want to qualify from a difficult group that includes Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will be targeting a third World Cup title after going all the way in 1978 and 1986.

Group F - Argentina

World Cup history

Argentina have missed out on just four World Cups in their history leaving them behind only Brazil, Italy and Germany in number of appearances. They have won the tournament twice in 1978 and 1986 and were losing finalists in 1930 and 1990.  

2010 World Cup Campaign

A lot was expected of Argentina and Messi in particular in South Africa and they cruised through to the last eight of the tournament. They did however succumb to a powerful Germany side who brushed them aside 4-0 after knocking them out at the same stage four years earlier. The Albicelestes have not gone beyond the semi-finals since Italy 1990 when they reached the final and were beaten once more by bogey side Germany.

How they qualified:

With Brazil automatically qualified, Argentina won the 16-match South American qualifying group, cementing first place during a brilliant 2012 when their first-choice side went unbeaten in nine matches, including friendlies, and Messi scored 12 goals, including two hat-tricks.

Key players:

There are a number of very good experienced players in the Argentina squad and most will be expecting something special from their "Fantastic Quartet" of Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria. There is so much faith put in the quartet that in-form Juventus striker Carlos Tevez was left out of the squad completely.

Coach:

Former player Alejandro Sabella took over as Argentina national team coach in August 2011 and made Messi his captain. His first game in charge came against Venezuela which ended in a slender 1-0 win.

 

Argentina’s Group F Fixtures:

15 June: Argentina v Bosnia and Herzegovina (00:00) - Maracanã

21 June: Argentina v Iran (18:00) - Estadio Mineirao

25 June: Argentina v Nigeria  (18:00) - Porto Alegre

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