FIFA World Cup 2010: Why Is Argentina Putting Idolatry Before Good Management?

Michael PodgerContributor IJune 15, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12:  Diego Maradona of Argentina the Argentine Team Manager on the touchline during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Argentina and Nigeria at Ellis Park Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

The 2010 World Cup has so far started in a rather less than spectacular fashion. With Germany currently sitting as the highest scoring team with 4 goals and the next teams that are closest are currently sitting on 2 goals. Far less impressive than even these extreme lack of goals is the management which has been applied to these teams currently attending this African World Cup. 

After the poor opening day of "football scoring" on the 11th many people including myself believed that Argentina would provide us with a nice flurry of goals for us to enjoy,

Having been drawn with the Nigerians in the opening day of the Argentine march on the trophy it was generally assumed that there would be at least 2/3 goals for the Argentines in this game especially with the Nigerians missing a key player in John Obi Mikel. In the end it was a rather dull game which saw Lionel Messi being the only Argentine who put forward a respectful performance to add to his international career, being a constant threat to the NIgerians and their seemingly talented goalkeeper.

However this 1-0 victory (thanks to a Gabriel Heinze headed goal) provided no illusions to the critiques of the Argentine manager, Diego Maradona. These critics have a fair point to be critical of this man's managerial abilities, the Argentine qualification campaign provided the Argentine public with moments of soaring despair and punishing lows, the jewel in this horrific run of results was the 6-1 defeat to Bolivia in Bolivia which according to Maradona and almost half the population of Argentina was down to the high altitude.
Alas this is only the tip of the iceberg for the Argentines because having passed through this qualifying campaign with a bare minimum run of results, the preparation for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa had to begin.

All in all preparation didn't go overly badly however it had become increasingly apparent that Maradona was harboring some resentment towards one Lionel Messi and isolating Messi but still having to play him because he is the best player in the world, it hasn't quite been looked in to with as to why Maradona showed this negativity towards him but the general feeling amongst the public is that Maradona is rather jealous of the abilities of Messi and how Messi is has been touted as becoming the "Next Maradona" and even worse better than Maradona himself.
However it is not just Messi that was isolated and unfavoured by Maradona, key players like Esteban Cambiasso and Zanetti were left out of his 23 man squad to travel to South Africa for seemingly unknown reasons.

It has to be considered one of the more questionable decisions to even leave Zanetti out but Esteban Cambiasso is considered to be the top central defensive midfielder in the world and Maradona left him out? This is extremely questionable especially because Cambiasso has just come off of a terrific season with Inter guarding his defense to the treble.

There are many things about Diego Maradona, terrifically talented footballer, expressive orator to the media, creative brain but one thing he is not is a good football manager ( at least at international level), decisions such as not to bring full backs has been nothing short of laughable considering his right back for the last game was a player who scored 2 goals in the Championship last season from an attacking position for Newcastle. He was quoted as saying "why would I need full backs to get past the halfway line? that's why i have wingers". It will be seen that this guise that his teams performance is living under after the Nigeria game will soon be unveiled at the later stages of the tournament, It can already be seen by the realists among us that the Argentinian national team is under far less of the divine influence than the "Hand of God".