Despite a tortuous qualification campaign, Argentina are travelling to South Africa with serious designs on winning the title for the first time in 24 years. To achieve that goal, the 1978 and 1986 world champions have pinned their faith in coach Diego Armando Maradona, the country's most famous footballing son and the inspiration behind the second of those memorable triumphs.
His task is made easier by the fact that he has a star-studded squad at his disposal, one that features several survivors of the team that reached the quarter-finals at Germany 2006, not to mention Lionel Messi and a host of other young stars with several youth titles to their name. Given that roll call, the Argentinians appear to have the resources to atone for recent disappointments and win the country's first international trophy since the Copa America in 1993.
The road to South Africa
The Argentinians made extremely hard work of qualifying for the finals, just as they did in 1985, the prelude to an electrifying charge to glory at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™. The two-time world champions started the campaign under the stewardship of Alfio Basile, who made way for Maradona after a defeat to Chile on Matchday Ten had relegated them to third place. Yet after a series of setbacks, they eventually hauled themselves over the line with narrow victories in their final two games against Peru and Uruguay.
La Albiceleste collected 28 points in all, their lowest tally since the introduction of the ...