Monday 21 November 2016, 15:19

Bauza: Argentina are not a one-man team

Edgardo Bauza denies Argentina are a one-man team and foresees himself lifting aloft the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Argentina are fifth – the intercontinental playoff position – in South America qualifying for Russia 2018, one point behind Ecuador and Chile but only one above Colombia.

However, La Albiceleste ended a four-game winless streak with a morale-boosting 3-0 defeat of Los Cafeteros last week. Lionel Messi was at his breathtaking best during that match – his performance was decorated by a sublime free-kick – but Bauza’s confidence in their World Cup chances is indebted to more than just his No10.

“The national team is not Messi and ten others,” insisted El Patón. “We have many players. is the best player in the world in his position. With these players I see myself as a world champion.”

Lucas Pratto was promoted into the starting XI for the game against Colombia, and he responded by scoring a header. Bauza confirmed that the Atletico Mineiro man and Gonzalo Higuain are automatics in his squad, but opened the door to summoning Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, who hasn’t represented his country since winning his solitary cap in 2013.

“Icardi knows I’m following him and that he could be called up at any time,” said the 58-year-old former defender.

Only Brazil (20), Germany (18) and Italy (18) have appeared in more World Cups than Argentina (16). Mexico 1970 was the last one La Albiceleste failed to qualify for, with a team featuring Roberto Perfumo, Silvio Marzolini, Miguel Angel Brindisi, Oscar Mas and Hector Yazalde, who went on to succeed Eusebio as the European Golden Shoe winner, unexpectedly finishing bottom of their three-team group behind Peru and Bolivia.