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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Argentina team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Argentina ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group C):

  • v Ivory Coast - 10 June, 2000 BST, Hamburg
  • v Serbia & Montenegro - 16 June, 1400 BST, Gelsenkirchen
  • v Holland - 21 June, 2000 BST, Frankfurt

    How did they get to Germany: They were the first South American side to book their place, making sure with three rounds to spare. Finished second to Brazil on goal difference.

    Qualifying star: There were plenty of changes, with new faces slowly replacing the 2002 generation. No-one featured in more than 13 matches, but classy midfielder Luis Gonzalez is a strong contender for the most consistent performer.

    Manager: Jose Pekerman. Has a magnificent record developing young players, taking Argentina to victory in the World Youth Cups of 1995, 1997 and 2001. Can he do it at senior level?

    Juan Pablo Sorin

    Captain: Juan Pablo Sorin. He was Pekerman's skipper 10 years ago in the World Youth Cup but the decision has caused a reported split in the camp with some believing the armband should go back to defender Roberto Ayala.

    World Cup pedigree: Twice champions (1978 and 1986) and twice runners-up (1930 and 1990). This is their 14th World Cup and they are one of the big guns of the global game.

    World Cup high: Winning in Mexico in 1986, when Diego Maradona touched heights - and we're not talking about the 'Hand of God' - that few, if any, had reached before.

    World Cup low: Sweden 1958 - when they returned to the competition for the first time since 1934. They were off the pace, losing 3-1 to West Germany and 6-1 to the Czechs.

    World Cup legend: No contest. Love it or hate it, Diego Maradona's 1986 campaign is one of the individual high points in the history of the game.

    Juan Roman Riquelme

    Present star man: Elegant playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, with his subtle, cunning passing has the ability to dictate the rhythm of a game. There are very high hopes, too, of Barcelona's teenage sensation Lionel Messi.

    Strengths: No other side in the world can match their midfield inter-passing. They also have impressive strength in depth in most positions.

    Weaknesses: An over-dependence on Riquelme, who can blow hot and cold. Pekerman has yet to find his ideal line-up or define his system, and he must be concerned by the lack of a top-class keeper.

    Did you know: After his playing career Pekerman drifted out of the game for a while and worked as a taxi driver before finding his true direction.

    World ranking: 9

    Odds: 8/1

    Local view: "We still don't know our best team, so a lot depends on the decisions that Pekerman will take. He has the raw material and some wonderful new talent. If he can find the blend, Argentina have every possibility of playing a major role." Manuel Epelbaum, La Nacion.

    Our verdict: They have yet to get past the quarter-finals in the post-Maradona era, and it is hard to see them winning this time. Unless of course, Riquelme is consistently brilliant and Messi catches fire. Still likely to play some wonderfully attractive stuff.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your Argentina XI
    31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Argentina
    02 Dec 05 |  Country profiles


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