According to most if not all betting sites online, Germany is the favorite to repeat World Cup success. This must be rubbing the Argentinian national football team the wrong way. The last two occasions upon which the Germans have gone all the way were at the expense of Argentina. This first of those two times was in 1990 and the second four years ago. The former was under the captaincy of Diego “Manos: The Hands of Fate” Maradona. The latter occurred under the leadership of Lionel Messi. Many saw Messi as the heir apparent to Maradona’s throne as the best player in the world, including Maradona himself. Unfortunately, Messi never really went beyond the “apparent” part. The fact that Maradona actually won a World Cup – also against (West) Germany – and Messi hasn’t is not the only difference between the two. But it is the most important difference.
Make no mistake, though. Messi is one of the most decorated footballers of all time. Five Ballon d’Or awards. Five European Golden Shoes. Nine La Liga titles. Four UEFA Champions League titles. Six Copas del Rey. Most official goals scored in La Liga. Messi also won the 2014 Golden Ball. However, that’s the closest he’s been to winning the World Cup. To his credit, he has probably taken his failure to win a title with the national team hardest than anyone else. After making three straight international tournament finals – one World Cup and two Copa Americas – Messi announced his retirement from international competition. It was, as it turned out, one of those 10-minute retirements. Urged by the unwashed masses as well as the very president of the country, Messi returned to the national team intent on winning the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Argentina’s odds at the 2018 FIFA World Cup:
- To win Group D: -162
- To win outright: +850
As one can see from these odds taken from Intertops sportsbook, and which show the consensus among betting sites online, Argentina could get off to an auspicious start. And winning a group including Croatia and Nigeria would be no mean feat in and of itself. But can the Albiceleste see the whole thing through? Seeing as how the best online sportsbook establishments give Germany, Brazil, Spain and France better odds, the Argentinians certainly have their work cut out for them.
All of which is to say that it is high time for Messi to bring the Argentina national team at least a fraction of the success he has enjoyed at the club level. Barcelona’s utter failure to function without Messi gave rise to neologism back in the mid 2010: Messidependecia. Or, Messi-dependence. The difference is that, unlike Argentina, Barcelona can actually depend on Messi. On the other hand, the Argentinian national team has continually put all its eggs in the one basket that is Messi, and, perhaps as a result, has consistently come up empty.
Messi himself has admitted that he “would swap a title with Barcelona for one with the national team.” And maybe that is not such a good sign. Like, that wouldn’t really be quite the sacrifice he makes it out to be. How many titles has he won with Barcelona? Would he actually miss one of those? It’s not like he hasn’t plenty to spare. To be fair, though, the Argentinians have not been, collectively, a well-oiled machine. As a matter of fact, it was Messi who pretty much baiollecfor them. rance ahead oftself. t off to an auspicious start. has c the 2led them out during the qualifiers. The forward scored a hat-trick against Ecuador which push them through to the global gathering in Russia. He’s going to need a lot more performances like that for Argentina to be the world champion once again.