The Argentina national football team, with great difficulty, due to the last round victory, has come through to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia from the third position in the CONMEBOL qualification. The team, perhaps the strongest in the world on the names of attacking players, surprisingly scored only 19 goals in 18 matches of the qualifying tournament. However, despite all the problems, the Argentina national football team is going to be a favorite of the Championship in Russia.
The Argentina is the second national team in amount of wins in the Copa America. There are 14 trophies in the portfolio of the White-Blues (one less than Uruguay has), but the last victory was in the far 1993. However, in the last five tournaments, Argentina reached the final four times, and all four times the team conceded a trophy to their opponents.
Argentina will take part in the World Cup for the seventeenth time. Twice the White-Blues have won the Championship, and they have become the second three times. In amount of titles the Argentineans concede only to the Italy, Germany and Brazil national football teams.
The Argentineans participated in the first World Cup in Uruguay, where they reached the final and won silver medals for the first time ever. The White-Blues were considered as the tournament favorite and brilliantly started the championship. On the group stage, the Argentineans convincingly defeated Chile, Mexico and France. In the semi-final, the USA national football team were prostrated with score 6:1. In the final, in the match against the tournament hosts — the Uruguay, the White-Blues were leading almost the whole game, but in the late second half they gave away three balls and, as a result, conceded. The forward of the Argentina national football team Guillermo Stabile became the top scorer of the tournament.
The win in the World Cup was achieved in the long-awaited home tournament in Argentina in 1978. On the group round the tournament hosts got into the “group of death” together with the national teams of Hungary, France and Italy. But there was no group fight — the Argentina national football team won two hard victories against Hungary and France (decisive goals were scored within the last 15 minutes in both matches), and went into the second round ahead of schedule. In the second round, Argentina and the three-time World Cup Champion Brazil team fought for the first line. Before the last round these teams were equal in points, therefore only the team scoring more goals in the last round went to the final. The Brazilians won against the Poland national football team 3:1, and the tournament hosts beat the Peru national football team of 6:0, and, as a result, went to the final. In the tournament decisive match, Argentina, thanks to Mario Kempes, won the Netherlands into injury time, and for the first time ever celebrated the victory in the World Cup. Mario Kempes became the top scorer of the tournament.
Eight years later Argentina repeated its achievement and for the second time ever became the World Cup Champion. The Championship 1986 in Mexico became a benefit performance of Diego Maradona, the greatest player in the history of the Argentina football. The Argentineans were unexpected to win, but their victory was quite deserved. On the group round, the important role was played by Jorge Valdano, the forward of the White-Blues, who scored three goals. Maradona's goal helped the Argentineans to hold the Italy match to draw, and to gain the first position in the group. In the round of last 16 Argentina closely won their key opponent, the Uruguay national football team, and went to the quarterfinal against the English national football team.
The match, except a sports component, had also its political implication. Only four years ago the military conflict for the Falkland Islands was developed between Great Britain and Argentina. The match became the most memorable in the World Cups history. The first half came to the end with goalless draw, and the second half was remembered by two goals of Diego Maradona. The first goal was scored with clear violation of the rules (by hand) which the referee did not notice. Diego scored the second goal after brilliant dribbling when he outplayed a half of English players. This goal became the most beautiful in the 20th century.
In the semi-final Argentina met the Belgium national football team, and again the match was solved by two goals of Maradona. In the final, Argentina, in a beautiful match, won the national team of Germany 3:2 and for the second time they became the World Cup Champion. In honor of that magnificent game a Diego Maradona monument was installed at the stadium AZTECA in Mexico.
Four years later Argentina, being the main favorite and having kept the frame of the champion squad, went to the World Cup to Italy. However, the White-Blues did not repeat their success and could not win the World Cup for the second time. On the group round Argentina looked quite faintly and won only one victory over the USSR national football team. Having taken the third position in the group, the White-Blues, nevertheless, was qualified for the round of last 16 where they met with Brazil. The match took place with clear advantage of the Brazilians, but the goalkeeper of the Argentineans saved the team and the net several times. And 10 minutes before the end of the normal time, after Diego Maradona passed along the flank, Claudio Caniggia scored the decisive goal. In the quarterfinal after quite boring goalless draw, Argentina beat its opponent in the penalty shootout. In the tournament semi-final Argentina met with the tournament hosts and the main contenders for victory. However, Argentina could draw the match, and again won on penalties. Argentina conceded in the final to the Germany national football team, thus, the Germans took a revenge for defeat of four-year prescription.
That was the end of the magnificent period in the history of the Argentina national football team, when the team for 10 years was considered as the world strongest and could reach the World Cup final twice in a row.
Similar success is expected from the today Argentina national football team. “Maradona's successor” Lionel Messi has been admitted the best world player for several times, he won a set of trophies of club football, however he has not still won in the Argentina national football team.
The most successful for Argentina tournament in the 21st century was the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The team didn't show a bright game, but they could show their character and again reach the final, like 24 years ago. On the group round the White-Blues won three victories over not the strongest opponents (Japan, Bosnia and Iran) and made the playoff from the first position in the group. In the round of last 16, in equal game with minimum of moments, into injury time, Argentina, thanks to Angel Di Maria's goal, beat the uncompromising Swisses. In the quarterfinal, due to the only goal, the South Americans overcame the Belgium national football team, and in the semi-final — on penalties, the Netherlands. In the decisive match of the championship against the Germany national football team (the final 1986 and 1990 repeated again) the Argentineans had several goal scoring chances, but into injury time they missed a decisive goal and conceded. In spite of the fact that Leo Messi was recognized as the best player of the tournament, Argentina was lacking his bright game in the decisive match. We hope, in 2018 Leo will surpass himself (as the sample of 2014) and will lead Argentina to the long-awaited title.
We would like to note another fact — the Argentina national football team, as well as Brazil, has in its portfolio victories in all competitions: World Cup, Confederations Cup, Copa America and Olympic Games.
The Argentina national football team squad is one of the strongest in the world, and their attacking line consists only of world-class stars. At the same time, as we`ve noted earlier, the team scores not enough. The team attacking group is a dream link of Messi-Dybala-Aguero-Iсardi. At the same time, because of the conflict with the team coach, Gonzalo Higuain temporarily isn't called up in the national team. The team average line is also impressive: Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore (both PSG) and Lucas Biglia (Milan). The defenders of the Argentineans are represented by the world leading clubs: Federico Fazio (Roma), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City). The goalkeeper is Sergio Romero (Manchester United).