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Star player:
Lionel Messi

Previous appearances:
1930 (runners-up), 1934 (first round), 1958 (first round), 1962 (first round), 1966 (quarter-finals), 1974 (second round), 1978 (winners), 1982 (second round), 1986 (winners), 1990 (runners-up), 1994 (second round), 1998 (quarter-finals), 2002 (first round), 2006 (quarter-finals).

How they qualified
Chile (h)                2-0
Venezuela (a)        2-0
Bolivia (h)              3-0
Colombia (a)          1-2
Ecuador (h)           1-1
Brazil (a)                0-0
Paraguay (h)          1-1
Peru (a)                1-1
Uruguay (h)           2-1
Chile (a)                0-1
Venezuela (h)        4-0
Bolivia (a)              1-6
Colombia (h)          1-0
Ecuador (a)           0-2
Brazil (h)               1-3
Paraguay (a)          0-1
Peru (h)                2-1
Uruguay (a)           1-0

Qualification was a bumpy ride in the extreme and included a 6-1 hammering by Bolivia, but if Maradona can get the balance right between motivator and tactician then Argentina are equipped to reach the semi-finals, or even win it.

Strange but true
Former Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta retired from football in 2005 and now lives in Perth, Western Australia. Loving a low profile, he can live life in relative anonymity, although his son has impressed playing for local junior teams.

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