Despite Argentina’s relatively poor performance in London, they should be entering this World Champions as one of the clear favorites. While Brazil may be the team to beat, Argentina has got to be a medal favorite. With Germany, Spain and South Korea in their group, they should sail through the group stage in first or second place, while looking for a possible rematch later in the competition with Spain who robbed them of a bronze medal in London. There is a real risk I am being overly optimistic about both Argentina and Spain being dominant because of my love for both countries, but I don’t think so. France can’t be counted as spoiling Argentine and Spanish dreams but I think these two teams have had more international top level experience in the past year to minimize the French threat just a little bit.
Argentina’s big Achilles heal in this competition is Brazil, a team they just cannot consistently beat. They went through a period of a few years where they could not get a mark in the W column against their South American neighbors. Argentina needs to play hard to avoid them. The winner of Brazil’s Group B meets the second place team of Argentina’s Group C. Finishing the top in their group would see Argentina playing the third seeded team in Group A or Group B, which would be a much more favorable match up for Argentina.
What has Argentina been up to since the London Paralympics? Early in 2014, they finished first in a French hosted four nation tournament that included France, Japan and Spain. They wiped the floor with Spain, winning 4 – 0. They beat Japan 1 – 0. They beat France 3 – 0. In August, Argentina played Brazil and Mexico in the Super Cup of Nations. Brazil beat Argentina 2 – 0. Argentina beat Mexico 2 – 0. Argentina drew Brazil 0 – 0. Argentina beat Mexico 2 – 1. In July, they played a three game friendly series against Paraguay, drawing the first game 0 – 0, winning the second 1 – 0, and losing the third 3 – 0. Luis Sacayan was the only player who scored for Argentina in that competition.
At the 2013 Copa America, Argentina defeated Chile 5 – 0 with Froilan Padilla, David Peralta and Silvio Velo all contributing goals. They went on to beat Uruguay 4 – 0 with Velo, Padilla and Claudio Monzan contributing goals. Then they played Mexico for a 2 – 0 victory with Velo and Peralta contributing goals. Next, they caused Peru a world of hurt with a 6 – 0 scoreline and goals from Claudio Monzon, Padilla, Peralta, Federico Acardi and Lucas Rodriguez. They had a tough time with Paraguay, ending with a 0 – 0 draw. They beat Colombia 1 – 0 on a David Peralta goal. They met their nemesis, had the game go down to PKs. Only David Peralta and Silvio Velo scored, and it ended 3 – 2.
Their junior team played a series against Paraguay and Brazil last year, with Argentina drawing against Paraguay and Brazil, before winning their last game on penalty kicks against Brazil.
Argentina has depth, and has been spending a fair amount of time at training camp. They have multiple players who can score. Go Argentina.