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  • 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

  • 20 years.

  • 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

  • wrong?

  • 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 Beckham.

  • 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.

Amidst the odd brush with brilliance, Argentina have actually had a rough old time of it.

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