The 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw is upon us with several groups of death being a real possibility for Argentina.
Football fans around the world will be glued to their television sets (or maybe in modern society their smart phones) in anticipation of the draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It’s the day we all find out the groups for the World Cup.
Groups of Death at 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw:
Will Argentina get a repeat of the 2002 World Cup group when they got England, Sweden and Nigeria? Or will it be Spain, Costa Rica and Japan? There are many possibilities. Ahead of the draw itself, FIFA.com held interviews with Brazil National Team coach Tite as well as footballing legend Javier ZANETTI. Both commented about the Argentina National Team. Here’s what they had to say:
Brazil coach Tite even spoke about Argentina. Here’s what he had to say speaking to FIFA.com.
Brazil coach Tite on Argentina:
Brazil swept all before them in the qualifiers after you took over in August 2016. How do you prevent that from being the team’s peak and ensure that it kicks on, which was something Argentina were unable to do in 2002, for example?
“With all due respect, I have to disagree with you about (Marcelo) Bielsa’s Argentina peaking then. They were in a really tough group with England, Nigeria and Sweden, and it all came down to a penalty in a very tight game with England. Argentina could easily have gone through and knocked the English out. But the group phase is always tricky. That’s a fact of life. In an individual sport you can always plan your ideal peak, but in a team sport the experience of playing in the qualifiers makes you stronger as a unit. In the case of Argentina that year, it was more to do with the quality of the opposition than the team peaking and then falling away.”
Lionel MESSI says that Argentina will be stronger now after their qualifying struggles. Do you agree with that?
“I’m with MESSI. They overcame a huge amount of pressure in the qualifiers. When you have three different coaches in the same qualifying competition, there are bound to be things that don’t work smoothly. But now that they’re through and they’ve got more time to work with and they have quality of [Jorge] SAMPAOLI and his players, I’m convinced they’re going to get better. I can’t say by how much but I’m sure they’re going to improve.”
Javier ZANETTI on Argentina:
Argentina laboured on the road to Russia. What’s your take on that campaign?
“It was very tricky because we changed coach midway through qualifying. Such changes are never easy. South American qualifying is always tough, and this time, Argentina had real trouble. We were on the brink: the last game against Ecuador was make-or-break in terms of reaching the World Cup.”
How did you handle the nerves?
“I live in Italy, but based on what my family and friends told me, I know the country was at a standstill, because Argentinians are hugely passionate about football and the World Cup is very important to them. On the one hand, I’m really pleased [that we’ve made it], but on the other hand, we’ve got lots to improve on.”
Are you excited by [Jorge] SAMPAOLI’s vision?
“Yes. I’m impressed because he has clear ideas, but he needs time to implement them. He knows that he has some top players at his disposal and he himself is experienced, which is very important at a World Cup.”
You mentioned the upheaval during the campaign, which is epitomised by the situation at centre-forward. Gabriel BATISTUTA was a nailed-on starter in attack in his day, as was Hernan CRESPO later. Things are different now…
“There’s been a lot of change in personnel. Until recently, Pipita [Gonzalo HIGUAIN] was the undisputed No9. Now Mauro ICARDI has got his chance, which is richly deserved because of what he’s doing for Inter Milan. Mauro can be useful for the national team, but that doesn’t mean HIGUAIN shouldn’t be in the squad. Argentina are lucky enough to have an embarrassment of riches up front, from Pipita to ICARDI, [Paulo] DYBALA, [Lionel] MESSI and so on. They’ve got so many options. I hope they can all go to the World Cup because they’d give the squad great strength in depth.”
What shape are Argentina in right now compared to other countries like Germany and Brazil?
“We’re a step behind them. They’ve got teams who have been working together for a while and that shows on the pitch. Still, we’ve got good players, and if we do good work between now and Russia, we can have a great World Cup. It’s not going to be easy, but Argentina always have their trademark fighting spirit, which can go a long way at a World Cup.”
Is MESSI alone enough to win it?
“MESSI is an extraordinary player, but your squad is pivotal: at a World Cup, the 11 players on the pitch and everyone else in the group can all play an important role. We know that he’s the guy who can produce something special out of nothing, who can make things happen and be the match-winner, but SAMPAOLI has to come up with alternatives.”
FIFA World Cup mock Draw:
A mock draw was done earlier this week and here was the outcome:
In the mock 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw, Argentina was drawn in a group with Morocco, Mexico and Sweden. What would you think about having that group? Possibly not the worst draw although that could be a dangerous group with three very different types of countries. Here are the pots for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw on Friday:
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|