Argentina’s World Cup 2014 preparation continues as the two-time champions play host to Trinidad and Tobago in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
Alejandro Sabella’s side will take to Group F when the tournament gets underway, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria looking like minor speed bumps on Argentina’s road to the knockout stage.
And drumroll please...the biggest cakewalk #8 most difficult is Group F (Argentina, Boznia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria) Messi, you're up!— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTSUSA) December 6, 2013
However, building momentum will be crucial ahead of their campaign in Brazil, where the Argentines are among the favourites to lift the trophy.
Venue: Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
Date: Wednesday, June 4
Time: 11:30 p.m. BST/6:30 p.m. ET
TV Info: beIN Sports (US only)
Live Stream: beIN Sports Play (US only)
Argentina Bringing Back Glory Days
Though undoubtedly a superpower in world football, Argentina haven’t announced themselves on the World Cup stage since reaching the final in 1990, where they lost to West Germany.
Indeed, the South American nation haven’t progressed beyond the quarter-finals since their unsuccessful title defence 24 years ago, per FIFA.com, which is as surprising as it is alarming for the Argentines.
However, recent evidence suggests that World Cup glory could be back on the horizon very soon, and Argentina’s star-studded line-up will be hoping to showcase their ability to the world when they take on Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
Though a walkover on paper, Trinidad have lost just one of their last seven matches in normal time according to SoccerWay, and they will be hoping to make a good account of themselves in the Argentina capital.
With a second friendly against another Group F nation, Iran, to come on Saturday, Trinidad and Tobago fans will be creating the kind of party atmosphere that both sides will need to become accustomed to when they touch down in Brazil.
It’s doubtful that the Trinidadians will have a lot to celebrate on Wednesday, though, with Argentina’s class likely to shine through at Estadio Monumental.
With the likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and, of course, Lionel Messi looking to get some valuable game time under their belts, it’s hard to see Trinidad and Tobago standing even the slightest of chances.
Argentina’s attacking line is one feared the world over, and with tune-up games like Wednesday’s giving them the perfect platform to build confidence and find some goals, Group F and beyond should be quaking in their boots.
Argentinian football legend Ossie Ardiles also thinks that his nation will do the business in Brazil, as he told FIFA.com:
I’d definitely tip Argentina as potential winners; they've got all the odds on their side this time. I think they will face Brazil in a dramatic final. Even so, there are several other teams that could play major roles in the competition, such as holders Spain, Germany, Italy and England.
Confidence that victories bring will be crucial behind Argentina’s success, and unleashing an in-form Messi on the world will have a devastating effect.
Though the 26-year-old only has one World Cup goal to his name, per Mail Online, easing his way past Trinidad and Tobago’s defence will give him the confidence to considerably multiply that tally.
Key Stats and Prediction
Argentina haven’t lost a home match since losing to Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the Copa America back in 2011—per SoccerWay.
An Argentina player has scored exactly two goals the last four times that Sabella’s side have registered on the scoresheet in international matches.
Despite their class going forward, Argentina have won just one of their last four matches, failing to score in two of them.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago haven’t conceded a single goal in their last three internationals, according to SoccerWay.
The last time that their defence was breached was back in September 2013, in a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia.
Though Trinidad will put up a fight, anything but a thrashing will be an incredible surprise in Buenos Aires. If Messi gets considerable game time, then he could be chalking up a big tally and building plenty of confidence.
Prediction: Argentina 5-0 Trinidad and Tobago.