Argentina World Cup 2018 Preview
We sat down with @SivanJohn_ to preview the World Cup for Argentina...
What did you make of the Argentina squad?
Sivan: The top scorer in Serie A Mauro Icardi was left out, the right decision? Overall it is still a good squad that has potential to go far but that depends on whether Sampaoli get them to play as a cohesive unit. Of course, bringing out the best of Messi is also going to be priority whilst ensuring that the team doesn't overly being dependent on him. Of course not having Icardi after a great season with Inter is a crime against football but Sampaoli decision to leave him is more on his own personality and gelling with the rest rather than tactical decision. Sometimes, a positive dressing room is also essential in building a winning team.
How high do you rate this current Argentina team?
Sivan: Not as highly as the side from the past though we still have the one of the greatest player of all time playing for this team. But potential is there.
Do you believe this will be Messi's last World Cup?
Sivan: Form his age, it looks likely to be his last World Cup though I do feel he still might see him in 2022 since he is still going to be a key figure and there is no genuine talent to take over from him anytime soon.
How detrimental could the loss of Romero be?
Sivan: He always has responded for country even though he doesn't get regular football at club football. He hasn't done anything wrong when playing for Argentina so I still think he is our No.1 keeper. It' is still a great loss to the team though in Franco Armani we have someone who can step up to the game but as of now, Sampaoli hasn't made up his mind whose going to be the starting keeper in Russia.
Is there anything different this time around to suggest Argentina have what it takes to get over the line? Something which they've struggled to do in the past.
Sivan: Having Manuel Lanzini and Giovanni Lo Celso brings a fresh outlook in midfield for Argentina. If there could forge a good combination with the attackers then we are in for a real treat with Messi not having to drop deep. Of course, a new defensive line up of Ansaldi, Otamendi, Fazio & Tagliafico looks more promising though I would have wish we had Garay in the team.
Other than Messi, what would you say is the key to success for Argentina?
Sivan: Aguero, if he could arrive in Russia in the same form has he does for Manchester City then I have faith in the team's capability to score goals. Di Maria too needs to be more intelligent and consistent when making those runs from the wing. I'm also hoping to see Crisitian Pavon to have a breakthrough tournament coming from the bench. As I have mentioned earlier, we have a new defensive line up so them looking solid at the back and keeping things tight will also be crucial.
Honest prediction, how will Argentina end the World Cup?
Sivan: Our chances in Russia, is somewhere between getting knocked out from the group stage to going all the way to winning the World Cup. My gut feeling is that we will just nick it out of the group stage but after that, heaven knows.
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