ARGENTINA – TEAM INFO
Team Nickname: La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue)
Current FIFA World Ranking: 1
Home Stadium: Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti
Copa America History: 14 wins, and most recently runners-up 3 out of the last 4 (2004, 2007, 2015)
World Cup History: 2 wins (1978, 1986), runners-up 3 times (1930, 1990, 2014)
Most Random Fact: In the 2006 World Cup Argentina had a guy given a red and sent off after the game had ended against Germany. He did not play in the game for a second and it is the only time a player has been given a red in World Cup after the final whistle.
Argentina has a long history. They were involved in the first official international match outside of the UK in 1901 where they played against Uruguay. So it goes without saying that Uruguay is a huge rival of theirs. However, given the respective successes and rankings of the two countries, their biggest rival is clearly Brazil. This particular rivalry is called “The Battle of South Americans” which with a name like that I think doesn’t need reiteration that it is SERIOUS. After some incidents in a 1946 match between the two teams they literally took 10 years off from playing each other. One of the teams would decline to play in a cup if it meant playing the other country.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
We all know the player that will get level 5 media freak out coverage is Lionel Messi. Much deserved, he is tremendous. Argentina are stacked and along with Messi they’ll have Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Pastore, Erik Lamela, and Nicolas Gaitan (may not know him but I recommend watching some Gaitan highlights. He’s got a little Iniesta in him) at their disposal to lead the attacks. It’s like going to a Thai restaurant and getting 1 of each of the appetizers. They’re all quite exquisite and uniquely flavored and you’re going to be happy with them all. What I want to do here now though is steer everyone away from the Pad Thai noodle dishes and introduce a little Sauteed Basil with Chicken into the mixer. I’m talking about a little guy named Javier Mascherano, El Jefecito. Javier is a defender for Barcelona and has turned into one of the smartest, most silky smooth readers of the game using his speed and tackling ability to disrupt any possible counter attacks his team might face. He is the granite rock in the Barcelona defense and if he can do the same for Argentina, with their similar style of play, they can do very well in this tournament.
Here is Javier berating Higuain for ordering Pad Thai, again:
This is Javier acting calmer than a Yanks fan in ’04 watching Mariano pitch with a lead in the 9th:
NOTABLE MOMENT IN MAJOR TOURNAMENT HISTORY
1986 World Cup Quarterfinal Match against England. A stunning moment that crushed the England national team for the foreseeable future up to and including right now.
Maradona claimed it had been scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.
GAMES TO WATCH
It’s pretty obvious, but you’re gonna wanna watch the Argentina games. Especially the first one. Here’s their schedule:
Argentina v. Chile: June 6th 10PM ET in Santa Clara, CA
Argentina v. Panama: June 10th 9:30PM ET in Chicago, IL
Argentina v. Bolivia: June 14th 10PM ET in Seattle, WA