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Argentina - World Cup 2018

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Russia 2018 represents Leo Messi's last best chance to win a World Cup. He has publicly said that if his country does not win this year, he may well be done playing international football.

As runners-up in the last World Cup and both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments, Argentina is desperate to win this title.

For almost a decade, however, the team has struggled on defense; a factor that cost them dearly on several occasions in the 2018 qualifying.

They do possess one of the tournament's deadliest attacks, and as long as they can keep the ball in their possession they have a shot.

A World Cup Winning Nation

Winners of Cups in 78 and 86, and runners-up in 1930, 1990, and 2014, Argentina is a belligerently proud football nation with an impressive history on the world stage.

They lay claim to some of the greatest footballers ever to play the sport: Messi, Maradona, Batistuta, Alfredo Di Stefano, Mario Alberto Kempes, and Sergio Aguero, just to name a few.

They have won the Copa America 14 times as well as the Confederations Cup in 1992 and have won Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2008.

Argentina’s Road To The 2018 World Cup

The “Albicelestes”, as they are known in their home country, had a rough go at qualifying for the World Cup, even raising doubts they were going to make it.

After draws against Peru and Venezuela and losses to Bolivia and Paraguay, La Seleccion needed a hat-trick from Messi on their last qualifying game vs Ecuador and facing a 1-0 deficit early on in the opening minutes.

Since then things have not been any easier. The team lost to Nigeria 4-2 late last year after qualifying and was routed 6-1 by Spain in a game where Messi sat out.

How Does The Argentina World Cup 2018 Squad Stack Up?

With a roster that reads like a who's who of international superstars, there is absolutely no reason why this team cannot be ready for Russia 2018.

Considering they have one of the world’s greatest players, and a team chock-full of offensive talent that includes Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, and Paulo Dybala, it’s hard to think they’ll squander the opportunity.

Defensively Argentina is a little shakier, relying on older players such as Javier Mascherano, Lucas Biglia, and Nicolas Otamendi. In the 6-1 rout against Spain, these player’s weaknesses were evident against the speedier Spaniards who were able to run circles around the Argentine’s defense with relative ease.

Argentina Odds To Win World Cup 2018

While the odds may be better for Argentina to win the World Cup than most other countries, it is still not clear that they are even a safe bet to place first in their group if they continue to play as they have in the last two friendly matches.

Should something happen to Messi early on, it would be disastrous to Argentina considering the team's reliance on his participation.

Argentina is the odds-on favorite in all of their group games, but only slightly so in their match against Croatia (4/5). Iceland has shown its ability to pull off upset and Nigeria won the friendly match in November which is something to consider.

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Argentina World Cup 2018

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