Many a time, the choices of the head and the heart differ on account of who will prevail after the 31-day footballing extravaganza that is the World Cup. This time too, my heart will make me stick to the side I have been gunning for since I was 13, England, though my head disagrees. So if I have to list a favourite for the Cup, it would be Argentina.
Albiceleste has class and personnel to go the distance in Brazil. There are quite a few reasons to pick Argentina as the favourites.
First would be the conditions in Brazil. Argentina being from the same continent would be accustomed to the requirements the weather has to throw up.
Second would be the amount of riches at their disposal, particularly in attack. Boasting of arguably the greatest player to have ever played the game, they have in Lionel Messi, a player who can replicate Diego Maradona's single-handed heroics of 1986 in Mexico.
Together with Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina possess the kind of talent that is sure to strike fear in any opposition. Premier League winners Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta would also be buzzing after an impressive season in England with Manchester City, while Javier Mascherano's solidity and experience will be invaluable to a team chasing their third World Cup triumph.
After their premature eviction in each of the last three World Cups, the country is as expectant as ever. With the guile and flair of their attackers, under the leadership of Messi and under the watchful guidance of coach Alejandro Sabella, the entire nation would be viewing this opportunity as perhaps their best to win the title.
To top it all, this could well be the crowning moment for a certain diminutive but extremely gifted player - Lionel Messi. A football crazy nation awaits anxiously.
(The writer is a Process Executive based out of Kolkata)