Cape Town - Not many would give Argentina the dark horse tag, but former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth and ex-Manchester United forward Dwight Yorke have reason to believe that they have a great chance of Soccer World Cup glory without any real pressure of winning the competition.
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The South Americans have failed to make an impression on football’s biggest stage since 1986 - the last time they won the World Cup - and many consider that the Lionel Messi-led nation is not in contention to win the 18-carat gold trophy when the tournament begins next month.
Argentina came close in Brazil (2014) as they reached the final but were overpowered by Germany, who are outright favourites to retain the trophy in Russia.
“If I went for a dark horse, I’ll probably say Argentina - they got the quality up front and look a bit sturdy in midfield and defence - so I would put some money on Argentina,” said Booth at SuperSport's World Cup broadcast launch.
The 41-year-old added: “I quite like the look of England - a good young squad but perhaps in another four years’ time (World Cup in 2022 hosted by Qatar).”
Booth and Yorke both agree that Germany are undoubtedly the favourites going into the tournament, but the Trinidadian has his own theories as to why Argentina will quietly make their way into the final.
Yorke believes that the absence of Chile, USA, Netherlands and Italy, who have not qualified for Russia, will further enhances Argentina’s hopes of claiming glory.
He thinks that not only the Messi-factor will work in their favour but past failures at World Cups will inspire the Argentina squad to go all the way.
“I look at it from a slightly different angle... I think Argentina (will win the competition) not just because of Messi but (because) in previous World Cups they’ve been very poor," said Yorke, who arrived in South Africa to be a part SuperSport's World Cup analyst team.
“Having the best player in the world (Messi), they haven’t quite lived up to the expectation.
“They have a pretty strong squad but for some reason at World Cups they haven’t produced the goods.”
Host nation Russia will kick-off the competition on Thursday, June 14 against Saudi Arabia at the new Luzhniki Stadium (17:00 SA time).