The World Cup has kicked-off and all the teams are geared up for the opportunity to represent their country at the grandest stage of all. Although no team can be ruled out, some teams look better than the others for obvious reasons. One such team being Argentina.
A team having a player like Lionel Messi, one of the best players to have graced the field should never be counted out and hence, Argentina surely has a very good chance of winning the tournament. Even barring Messi, Los Gauchos has a lot of firepower among their squad with all the great attacking options they possess.
In anticipation of the Greatest Footballing Fiesta on the Planet and all that awaits for this period of one month, we take a look at some of the players that can prove to be very crucial for Argentina.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini is arguably one of the best players to ever step foot on the field. His ability to mesmerize defenders with a mix of skill and pace is unmatched, and it often appears as though the ball is glued to his feet.
Messi led his home country, Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final losing 1-0 to Germany and to the finals of the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas. A serial winner with his club, the Barcelona star is versatile enough to play anywhere across the front-line.
The Argentinian had a stellar 2017/18 season with Barcelona scoring 45 times and providing 18 assists in just 54 matches in all competitions. The captain will need to lead from the front for Argentina by scoring some memorable goals if they are to win the tournament.
2. Nicolas Otamendi
Nicolás Hernán Gonzalo Otamendi has to play an important role for Argentina especially after their number one goalkeeper Sergio Romero got injured. The Manchester City defender needs to stay solid as a rock and will be the key to hold the defensive line for Argentina.
The 30 year old centre-back is riding high on confidence on the back of a solid season having won the Premier League with Manchester City in a commanding manner. He played a crucial part for Manchester City, averaging 3.7 clearances, 1.7 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game. Jorge Sampaoli will be hoping for a repetition of the performance from his centre-back.
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3. Paulo Dybala
Paulo Bruno Exequiel Dybala, aged 24 is a very young, promising and talented forward. He has scored some typically beautiful goals for his club, Juventus but has found it difficult to start for the Argentinian National team due to the abundance of quality forwards present in the Argentina squad.
The Juventus forward averaged a rating of 1.8 key passes per game and has scored 26 times in the 48 matches that he has played for Juventus this season. Dybala has made the number 10 jersey his own at Juventus and isn’t looking to drop it off easily. He is expected to start during the World Cup and cater considerable support to the likes of Messi and Aguero. He will be hoping to score some unbelievable goals for Argentina as he did for his club.
4. Giovani Lo Celso
Giovani Lo Celso, born on 9th of April 1996 plays in the midfield position for the French football outfit- Paris St. Germain. The young midfielder has made his name at the club while wearing the number 18 jersey. Although he has age on his side, he will still look forward to winning the World Cup this time around alongside the other outstanding players present in the Argentin squad.
Lo Celso is expected to be heavily involved during the World Cup for Argentina providing the desired energy in midfield and will also look to control the match from the middle of the pitch giving freedom to the likes of Lional Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala to showcase their skills up front.
Lo Celso has usually been part of a midfield trio at his club and will be expected to do the same under Sampaoli as Argentina look to go one better than their runners-up finish in World Cup 2014. The young Argentinian finished the season on a good note averaging 2 tackles and 0.5 interceptions per game and also scoring 5 times in the 47 appearances for PSG.