For more than 70 years, countries from every area of the globe have been captivated by World Cup soccer. From the very beginning of World Cup history, Argentina has been a bold contender. In fact, the very first World Cup held in Uruguay in 1930, came down to a final game between Uruguay and Argentina, where Uruguay won 4-2.
The last time the World Cup was held in Argentina was in 1978, but because of the political atmosphere in Argentina at the time, a somber mood prevailed among the international teams. Even during these trying political times, Argentina prevailed and won the finals over the Netherlands 3-1 in overtime.
In Mexico in 1986, Argentina won 3-2 against West Germany, when the famed Diego Maradona (perhaps the most popular Argentinean soccer player in history) dominated the field. Since then, Argentina has been shadowed by their neighboring country Brazil, leading the world with a total of five World Cups.
The current Argentina World Cup team, known as the Abiceleste, touts a rare grouping of talented players. The most lauded is Hernan Crespo. A talented marksman and forward, Crespo is currently listed third in the top four scorers for all of the teams at the World Cup. Argentina has been leading in the goals per game and Crespo is to be accredited with a fare share of these goals.
The rising star of the Argentina team is Lionel Messi. Recently deemed by the fans as 'the new Maradona,' Messi is proving himself as a starter even though he is only 18. Because of his performance thus far in the games, he is the youngest scorer ever in the World Cup finals.
Because of Argentina's massive 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro and their 2-1 victory over the Cote d'Ivoire, 2-1 overtime victory over Mexico, Argentina begun to think that their team may have a strong future in the tournament. Unfortunately, Argentina lost to Germany on penalty kicks in overtime in the quaterfinals.
As the tournament commenced, the world was standing in awe of Argentina's brilliant offensive style, championed by Hernan Crespo (Chelsea), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal), and Lionel Messi (Barcelona). Even though the talent on the team is indubitable, some critics wonder if the attitude of the team reflects the challenges ahead. A few wondered if they can overcome their failure to succeed in the past, such as the finals in Japan in 2002, where they failed to make it out of their designated group. There is a strong call from both the critics and their Coach Jose Pekerman to reassess the teams strengths and weaknesses, while playing some of the challenging games to come.
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