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For the Argentinians, the right time is now

sports Updated: Jun 10, 2010 01:44 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

For visiting Argentines, journalists included, the disastrous qualifying campaign is history. The real time is now, they said, and Argentina are ready.

"The team was unsettled during the qualifiers because coaches changed (Alfio Basile quitting to make Diego Maradona's appointment possible). Now, that's all behind us and the team looks settled," said Sergio Levinski, a veteran Argentine freelance journalist.

His comment was in sync with those of fans who milled outside the High Performance Centre here. "We are staying till Juli 11 (July 11, the date of the final)," said Agnelo, who, in keeping with South American penchant for nicknames, didn't give his full name.

After training, Nicolas Burdisso was asked how it felt to be the favourites, and the defender said: "It is an honour. However, we must be cautious and take things step by step. A lot of favourites haven't lived up to their promise in the finals."

Maradona's ploy of choosing a number of Argentina-based players too drew support from Levinski.
"It helps people identify with the players because they see them regularly." This despite the coach's demands on the players being different from that of some coaches at Argentine clubs, a fact acknowledged by Burdisso.
Argentina are likely to be the only team apart from Greece with a three-back line-up where Martin Demichelis, Walter Samuel and Nicolas Otamendi being the likely frontrunners.

"Well, two of them (Samuel and Demichelis) won the league and the cup double for their club (Inter Milan and Bayern Munich respectively) and Samuel also won the Champions League. That's enough to generate some trust in them," Levinsky said.
Add Lionel Messi, the leadership skills of Javier Mascherano, who turned 26 on Tuesday, the playmaking abilities of Juan Veron, the speed of Carlos Tevez, the potential of Gonzalo Higuain and it is difficult not to agree with Levinski, Burdisso and the fans who had fetched up.

More so, because the likes of Sergio Aguero - remember his show in the Europa League final - Diego Milito and Martin Palermo will wait on the sidelines.

And this merry bunch is here with a coach who knows all about winning World Cups and insists that this squad is better than the one he led in 1986.