Fiji Time: 7:26 PM on Sunday 31 July

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Messi key to Argentina's World Cup hope

Dpa
Friday, April 18, 2014

BUENOS AIRES - Former Argentina coach Cesar Luis Menotti believes Lionel Messi can star at the World Cup like countryman Diego Maradona in 1986 but his form in Brazil "will depend a lot on the team."

Argentina will be depending on the Barcelona striker being at his best for the June 12-July 13 tournament as they seek a third World Cup title following wins in 1978 and 1986.

But Menotti, who led Argentina to the 1978 title, said he was not sure the current team would be able to support Messi enough for them to win the tournament.

"If the team works well, if the team defends well, if the team recovers the ball easily, if the ball goes through Messi's feet with a high percentage, he will have the chance to prove just how good he is," Menotti said.

"So far, the team has had several good things, and several that were not so good.

"So far the team does not play with the strength of an idea that has been fully absorbed and that has been practised as much as needed. It is very much based on the inspiration of its players.

"But there is also hope based on the fact that the coach will for the first time have the opportunity to have them all together for more than three days."

Menotti, also a former Barcelona coach, is now 75 and has not been active as a trainer since 2007, but football still dominates his office in central Buenos Aires.

Match videos and newspaper clippings pile up, and pictures of the man known as "El Flaco", alongside football legends such as Maradona, Pele, Michel Platini and Johan Cruyff, are displayed on the walls.

Looking at some of the other World Cup favourites, Menotti says hosts and five-time winners Brazil cannot be ignored.

"(Brazil) are always highly competitive, they are always candidates (to win the title), and they can be world champions. What I am not sure of is whether they will manage to play well," he said.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64150.6225
JPY 51.982948.9829
GBP 0.36900.3610
EUR 0.44000.4280
NZD 0.69550.6625
AUD 0.65310.6281
USD 0.48960.4726

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 29th July 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Early morning tragedy claims a life, another hospitalised
  2. Four jump from moving bus
  3. QVS teams dominate Deans Trophy semi-final clashes
  4. Couple retires after 70 years
  5. Early morning body discovery
  6. $700m bill
  7. Giteau, Fijian duo in Wallabies squad
  8. Long wait finally over
  9. Akbar: Cards on hold
  10. Westerners dominate

Top Stories this Week

  1. Tourist fined $400 for apples Tuesday (26 Jul)
  2. Fitter and faster Tuesday (26 Jul)
  3. Student jumps from school building Tuesday (26 Jul)
  4. Mum rises above limits Wednesday (27 Jul)
  5. Black money Monday (25 Jul)
  6. Alleged rape victim out of hospital Monday (25 Jul)
  7. Reaction from 7s players Monday (25 Jul)
  8. Alarm over 'illegal' property purchases Tuesday (26 Jul)
  9. Chilling out in Chile Thursday (28 Jul)
  10. Early morning tragedy claims a life, another hospitalised Sunday (31 Jul)