Well, it’s coming up to eleven o’clock on a Sunday night here in England, and this is, of course, the ideal time to schedule our first look at the Argentina side that many are tipping to go a long way in this tournament. On the flip side, their opponents this evening will be making their first World Cup appearance and will be looking to grab an upset here.
A lot of the pressure will be heaped on Argentinian star man Lionel Messi and the Barcelona maestro will hope to steal the show on football’s biggest stage for the first time. His previous 571 minutes of World Cup football has only harboured one goal but his form at club level means he has the capability to do something fantastic in Brazil. There were no major issues in qualifying as they finished top of the South American section ahead of fellow finalists Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay. Argentina have an all start cast of attacking talent – in the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi – but their defensive talent shouldn’t be overlooked. The two-time winners have won nine of their last 12 World Cup group games and only conceded four goals during that time.
Bosnia meanwhile, taking their bow in the finals, come into this game off the back of two fantastic friendly wins against Ivory Coast and Mexico who have both also qualified for the tournament. Their plane tickets to Brazil were secured in a thrilling race for top spot in European Qualifying Group G. Finally finishing ahead of Greece on goal difference thanks to a 1-0 victory over Lithuania in their final match. There are many reasons to be confident of their chances to make an impact. Premier League followers know all about Asmir Begovic’s quality in goal for Stoke, playmaker Miralem Pjanic has enjoyed an impressive campaign for much-improved Roma and Edin Dzeko leads the line with quality and ability. Bosnia could spring a surprise, not only tonight, but in the tournament itself.
In fact, Richard was so confident in their chance that he thinks this game could be a contender for “game of the groups” – if not the tournament. However, that was before the Costa Rica result yesterday and the white-washing of Spain.
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