Argentina's World Cup hopes rest with the man who almost single-handedly won them their last title in 1986. A brilliant, instinctive footballer who enjoys almost god-like status in Argentina, Diego Maradona was nonetheless a surprise choice to succeed Alfio Basile during qualifying, given he was a managerial novice. He called up 102 players in his first 14 months but poor results, including a 6-1 thrashing in Bolivia, left qualification in doubt.
However, since booking their spot with victory in Uruguay, Argentina may have found a winning formula. A backline consisting of four centre-backs is protected by Javier Mascherano, with Juan Veron supplying the ammunition for Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain. Maradona is not short of attacking options - as well as Messi and Higuain (the two leading scorers in La Liga), he can call upon Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. If Maradona can get the best out of Messi, they could be contenders.
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