Team Profile: Argentina
Colours: Light blue and white striped shirt, black shorts, white or black socks.
Nickname: La albiceleste (the white and light blue)
Previous World Cup appearances: (14) 1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Best World Cup performance: Winners 1978, 1986
Coach: Diego Maradona
Most capped player: Javier Zanetti 136
Top scorer: Gabriel Batistuta 56
FIFA Ranking (Apr 10) : 7
Argentina is one of the most successful national football teams in the world. The team has twice won the FIFA World Cup, in 1978 and 1986. La Albiceleste has won the Copa América 14 times -a record shared with Uruguay-, won the Confederations Cup in 1992 and the Olympic Football Tournament in 2004 and 2008. Argentina and France are the only national teams which have won the three most important men's titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympics football tournament.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Argentina qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a narrow 1–0 win against Uruguay in the last match of the tournament. The team finished fourth in the South American Qualifiers.
Argentina has small societies that can make a difference. The most important one is Veron with Messi. Also important is the job Di Maria and Gutierrez do, marking and attacking down the flanks. Finally we must mention the winning mentality of the Argentine players.
Argentina does not have a clear style of play. Its defense is not secure and attacks with disorder. However, there are players with great technique who can change the history of a match at any time.
Diego Armando Maradona has little coaching experience and that is a disadvantage in a World Cup. He likes to play with a 4-4-2 tactical formation, but you can often see his team playing 4-3-1-2.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona): Probably the best football player of the world today. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to football legend Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor". Will be his second appearance in the World Cup
Javier Mascherano (Liverpool) : Mascherano was selected as captain of the national team. He won a second Olympic gold medal with Argentina in Beijing 2008. Former Argentine footballers Jorge Valdano and Jorge Solari regard him as possibly the best central midfielder in the world.
Juan Sebastián Verón (Estudiantes de La Plata) : Verón is most famous for his vision and perceptive passing. He compensates his limited pace with his vast experience and vision. He also has a powerful long shot and set pieces. La Brujita (Little Witch), was chosen as the best player of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.
BEST FOOTBALLING MOMENT
Just four minutes after the Hand of God goal, came The Goal of the Century, so called because it is often claimed to be the greatest goal of all times. Héctor Enrique passed the ball to Maradona ten meters inside his own half. “Pelusa” then began his 60-meters, 10-second dash towards the English goal, dribbling four english outfield players and finished the move by dribbling round Shilton to make the score 2–0 to Argentina in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
OFF THE PITCH
Famous for: The Choripán, combination of its ingredients: a grilled chorizo and a crusty bread such as a marraqueta or baguette; and Tango, dance that has influences from Spanish and African culture, originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires.
Most likely to: Seen the poor football his side played at the Qualifiers, Maradona will need another Hand of God to save him from a total failure.
Undoubtedly, to go all the way to the final is the desire and objective of every Argentine player and fan. Only some brilliant football combined with bad luck can make them happy even without the trophy.