Leaving your team’s fate to God is never a good idea. Unless of course you are Maradona and the holy one has already done you one favour during your playing career. Possibly why El Diego was proclaiming, after his side’s 1-0 win over Germany, that his Argentina side will go on to win the World Cup…‘if it’s God’s will’.
Now for me, it’s not very nice to put the big man up there under such pressure. Argentina have hardly shown the class of World Champions throughout their qualifying campaign and it seems to me that it could be that Maradona is already trying to give himself an excuse, should they fail. Ironic that the majority of Argentineans actually see Maradona as the Lord himself so if he can’t do it then who can?
Despite the dodgy qualifying campaign, his team are finally gaining some sort of momentum. Including the two victories that secured their World Cup place, the Albiceleste have recorded 6 wins out of 7 games. The only loss coming in a 2-1 defeat to Spain, which given the form they are in, is no surprise.
El Diego’s falling out with former play-maker Juan Roman Riquelme could be a blessing in disguise for the manager and a certain Seba Veron. The 35 year old, who once struggled to justify a heavy price tag at Old Trafford, has come into his own as Maradona’s heart in the midfield. With Javier Mascherano picking up the pieces and Angel Di Maria and Messi occupying the wings, the legend has a team capable of writing their own story.
They also have an in form striker in the form of Gonzalo Higuain and given that his bench this week consisted of Carlos Tevez, Son in law Sergio Aguero and Diego Millito, their potential this summer must not be underestimated. The lack of a solid back four (or Mara’s tendency to play four centre backs) might be their down fall but if they can outscore their opposition which, with their attacking options, shouldn’t be hard, then they will be just fine.
What Maradona might lack in qualifications or experience, he certainly makes up with passion and status. The next best thing to God in Argentina has meant that the hopes for the summer are high among fans. The media critics are not so convinced. Something that would not have been helped by his willingness to help sports manufacturer Nike when his team are quite clearly sponsored by rivals Adidas. Ah, never a dull day when El Diego is around.
None the less, the Argentinean wagon is beginning to roll. They are set for a roller-coaster ride, but should they find the form that their manager displayed in 1986 then they will tear apart everybody in their way to the ultimate prize. They may not even need the help of the Holy one after all.