By Sebastian Gonzalez on June 4, 2014
The Argentine soccer team is considered a heavy favorite to win the World Cup this year. Of course, with players like Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria and Javier Mascherano, one can see why they're the odds-on favorites. But the question for Argentina has always been how their individuals will come together as a team. They'll need to fix these five issues as a team if they want to lift the gold.
Although Argentina have some of the best forwards in the world, one can't help but feel that they'll miss out on the magic of Carlos Tevez in Brazil. He's scored three goals in World Cups before and has come up big for Argentina in other tournaments. For three years now, Sabella has tried to replace him with the likes of Rodrigo Palacio and Franco di Santo, but they're obviously a step down from Tevez.
The problem with having the best player in the world on your team is that at times, you depend solely on that player's brilliance. What happens when that player isn't producing the magic? That's the question Barcelona couldn't answer this season, and it's the question Alejandro Sabella will have to answer at Brazil. But with players like Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria, there's no need to depend on one player.
Coach Alejandro Sabella has shown an affinity for the 4-3-3 with the Argentine national team. The problem he has is choosing the correct players for the formation. With such a deep talent pool, he has two or three valid options at every position. While he had been using Ever Banega in that formation for a long time, he ended up cutting him for the World Cup. That's just one example of the number of options he has per position.
There aren't too many big names on the defensive end of the field for Argentina. While you'd need more fingers on each hand to count their star offensive players, the Argentine defense just isn't as good. They'll likely start with Pablo Zabaleta, Federico Fernandez, Ezequiel Garay and Marcos Rojo. All are respectable players, but nothing out of the ordinary. And when you're facing extraordinary players, you'll need a lot more to stop them.
While the team doesn't want to depend solely on Lionel Messi, Argentina will also want as much of his wizardry as possible. And if we are to expect the same Messi from Barcelona's latter half of the season, we'll be sorely disappointed. Many have questioned if Messi's head is in the right place, citing morale problems. Coach Sabella will need to make sure he has the best Messi available by convincing him to give it his all in Brazil.
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