Leo Messi leaves two players flailing vs Haiti

Why Argentina will win the World Cup: 10 reasons

1: Jorge Sampaoli

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 09: Jorge Sampaoli of Argentina looks on during the Brazil Global Tour match between Brazil and Argentina at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 9, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

For many, Argentina boast a better coach then any other nation competing at this summer’s World Cup.

Jorge Sampaoli made a name for himself whilst managing the Chilean nation team when they won the Copa América for the very first time, beating Argentina on penalties in 2015.

He then impressed in European club football during his one season with Sevilla.

Sampaoli led Sevilla to the Champions League knockout stages and to a fourth place finish in La Liga, both for the first time in seven seasons.

But it is his teams style of play which is the most eye-catching. His attacking, quick passing, high energy style of play, when it works, can be unstoppable and with the players at his disposal, Argentina could well be too hot to handle in Russia 2018.

2: Copa América heartache motivation

Lionel Messi for Argentina

Lionel Messi of Argentina looks on during the Brazil Global Tour match between Brazil and Argentina at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 9, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Since the last World Cup Argentina have competed in two tournaments, the Copa América in Chile before a special Copa América Centenario in the United States.

However, neither tournament went to plan for Argentina.

In fact, they were both agonisingly close.

In 2015’s final they were defeated by Chile on penalties and then a year later there was a sense of déjà vu, with the final between Argentina and Chile finishing scoreless after two hours of play and again Chile won in a shootout.

Three successive finals defeats will have taken their toll on Argentina and Leo Messi…

Will this heartbreak prove to be extra motivation in Russia?

3: They’ve got Lionel Messi

BILBAO, SPAIN – OCTOBER 28: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring goal during the La Liga match between Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

When you’ve got Lionel Messi in your team you’ve got a chance of winning anything.

Messi’s Barcelona team won the La Liga and Copa del Rey double again this season meaning he has now won 32 major honours with the Catalan side.

However, his international trophy cabinet remains empty.

This season he’s scored 43 goals in 51 Barcelona appearances; if he can carry that superb form into the World Cup he might just fire his side to glory.

Leo Messi bags a hat-trick for Argentina versus Haiti in World Cup warm-up – video

4: Argentina were in the final just 4 years ago

Could it be a good omen that Argentina were in the final at the iconic Estádio do Maracanã four years ago.

On three previous occasions the runners up of the previous tournament have gone on to reach the Final again four years later.

Most recently Brazil when they avenged their 1998 defeat in France by being crowned champions of the world in Japan in 2002.

Will Argentina be able to repeat this feat and avenge their defeat in Rio?

5: That winning feeling

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 06: Vincent Kompany of Manchester City lifts the Premier League Trophy as Manchester City celebrate winning the Premier League after the Premier League match between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town at Etihad Stadium on May 6, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Many within the Argentina squad come into this tournament on the back of successful seasons with their clubs seeing them win silverware.

Seven of their squad were league champions this season with either Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus or PSG.

Ángel Correa claimed Europa League glory with Atlético Madrid.

All this means that mood within the camp will be high and ensure that winning is a habit the players can take to the international stage.

The official Argentina World Cup squad:

* West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini has since been replaced by Enzo Perez.

6: Pressure game experience

With three finals in the last three years, Argentina’s players are used to playing in high pressure games.

They picked up just two points from their first three CONMEBOL qualifiers, poor form which ultimately cost Edgardo Bauzo his job.

After disappointing draws with Venezuela and Peru they knew they had to win in Ecuador or they wouldn’t even make it to the finals.

They fell behind after just 38 seconds and it looked as though they were going to miss out on the World Cup finals for the first time since 1970.

However, Leo Messi stepped forward. Not once. Not twice. But three times. His fifth international hat trick booked their ticket to Russia, just.

Of course, any top team would rather qualify comfortably but could the experience of being in a must-win situation and being a goal down, should stand them in good stead in the finals.

7: Argentina’s incredible firepower

TURIN, ITALY – APRIL 11: Paulo Dybala of Juventus FC embraces Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Juventus and FC Barcelona at Juventus Stadium on April 11, 2017 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Argentina can boast a gluttony of strikers that are the envy of every other nation.

Despite scoring 27 goals for Inter Milan and finishing the season as Serie A’s joint top goal scorer, Mauro Icardi has been left at home by Sampaoli.

Argentina’s four attacking options are Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.

Pretty much every other country at the World Cup is looking at those four with some sort of jealousy.

8: Experienced players

Key members of the Argentina squad have won many caps.

Three of their current squad are in the top 10 for all time record appearance holders for their country.

They are Javier Mascherano, Ángel Di María and Lionel Messi who have won an enormous amount of caps between them.

They are three of 9 players that have won over 50 international appearances which shows the extent of their experience.

If they put them all together, this Argentine squad could boast over 50 league winner’s medals from around the world and it is this kind of winning mentality that might just get them over the line.

9: Éver Banega- the unsung hero.

Every successful team, as well as being full of superstars, always has one player who deserves more recognition for the dirty work, tidying up and shielding the defence which means that others can shine within the team.

Could Éver Banega be this man for Argentina?

He has been a pivotal, at the base of Sevilla’s midfield that won the Europa League in 2015 and again in 2016, winning the ball back and never giving it away.

His pass completion rate this season is 87.3% and that is impressive when you consider that his team has somewhat been struggling this season domestically.

10: Leo Messi’s last shot at the Ballon d’Or

Having again failed to win the Champions League with Barcelona, surely the only way Messi will claim his sixth Ballon d’Or is to become the third Argentina captain to lift the World Cup.

There is the added extra motivation with Real Madrid retaining the Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo is the current favourite to win it again.

This would mean that although they are currently level on individual Ballon d’Ors, Messi needs a World Cup win otherwise he will fall behind Ronaldo for the first time in ten years.

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Argentina to win the World Cup & Leo Messi to win the Golden Boot: 25/1