Amidst the odd brush with brilliance, Argentina have actually had a rough old time of it.
They nearly got their hands on the first ever World Cup until it was redirected to their
rivals next door.
Then, after a shameful second outing, a sulky Argentina refused to show up for the next
In 1958 they decided to be the bigger men, only to finish bottom of their group and earn
a rather unfortunate personal record.
But in 1966 they made it to the quarter finals. They faced England, what could possibly go
Following that humiliation Argentina then spent most of the 1970s in the wilderness.
After all, they had other things to worry about, like the fascist junta that had seized
power in 1976 and the disappearance of around 30,000 Argentines.
When Argentina was named host nation of the 1978 tournament there was empty talk of boycotts.
To the sound of 1,000 crying mothers, Argentina won their first ever World Cup.
They had other things on their minds in the next World Cup too, which started just a day
before their defeat in the Falklands and with that loss in the air, the lads palyed terribly.
But come 1986 and Mexico, it was payback time as they faced England again in the quarter
finals and with a little help from Diego's mitt, an anglophobic God and the goal of the
century, they won.
They then beat Germany in the final and the cup was theirs.
Such was Diego's power, he then singlehandedly dragged them through the next World Cup too.
Here again, they faced Germany in the final, but showing no gratitude for Argentina rehousing
some of their worst citizens, Germany beat them 1-0.
The nineties were a blizzard of cocaine and condemnation. Having tested positive for the
stuff in Italy, Diego, cleaned up his act for the cup.
A fitter, slimmer Maradona led Argentina through a whirlwind of success until he tested positive
for slimming pills and jumped on the first plane home.
With Maradona gone, in 1998 another Diego proved key. Simeone, bringing out the beast
In 2006 then, they made even the cool headed Germans lose their composure.
As the decade with no name began Argentina arrived in South Africa with the best player
in the world and the most excited manager.
They made it to a quarter final match-up, again with Germany, who this time kept their
cool and beat them 4-0.
So, they come into 2014 with still one of the best players in the world in their line-up
and behind them, the prayers of that most august of institutions, the church of Maradona.