WORLD CUP HISTORY: Diego Maradona takes the helm of the team he led to World Cup glory in 1986. The South American giants also lifted the trophy in 1978. Argentina have been a World Cup regular, as 2010 marks their 15th appearance including their tenth straight.
QUALIFICATION: Argentina looked anything like a World Cup regular in qualifying. At one point there was a genuine fear they would fail to make it to South Africa. Under Alfio Basile, the Argentines struggled mightily, leading to his dismissal. On came Maradona, though the team hardly reached vintage form upon his appointment. Argentina finished fourth in South American qualifying on 28 points, their worst total since the advent of the single table format.
KEY PLAYER: Lionel Messi. There is no doubting the pedigree of this team, and Messi is without a doubt the key man. Considered the best player in the world, and the one man that could eclipse Maradona himself as a national icon, Messi is the full package. The Barcelona man has dominated Europe for two years, and has the ability to dominate the world in South Africa. Though he has failed to replicate his club form for his country, he is still the player to watch in South Africa.
EXPECTATIONS: Anything less than a World Cup win would be a disappointment. On paper, this side is one of the few truly world-class outfits in South Africa, but there are enormous question marks over Maradona. Once worshipped back home, there is now considerable concern over his coaching attributes. That being said, if he finds his coaching wings, Argentina is one team that could certainly be crowned World Cup champions on July 11th.