Maradona - We can win it
Argentina boss Diego Maradona has declared that his side have a realistic chance of winning the World Cup.
By Mike Barton & Patricio Figueroa
Last Updated: 04/03/10 10:18am
Argentina boss Diego Maradona has declared that his side have a very realistic chance of winning the World Cup this summer.
The 48-year-old has endured a difficult time since becoming manager, with his side only qualifying for the tournament by the narrowest of margins in the final game of the campaign.
However the 1-0 victory against Germany in Munich on Wednesday demonstrated that his team are still very much a forced to be reckoned with, something that Maradona was quick to point out.
"This game had the character of a World Cup quarter-final and this is the level we were looking for," he said.
"Maybe the press in Argentina won't like it, but we are going to play a very good World Cup in South Africa.
"What we showed is that we have a team who can become world champions for the first time after 24 years.
"Germany has great potential and Argentina showed that they are on a par with them."
Maradona, one of football's most legendary figures in his playing days, was the last person to lift the World Cup for his country after his inspirational performances guided them to glory in Mexico in 1986.
But in Lionel Messi, Maradona believes he has a player with the ability to guide his team to glory. The Barcelona winger, despite having one of his quieter nights, was still a constant threat in a game won by Gonzalo Higuain's solitary strike.
"I thank God that Messi is Argentinian," added Maradona.
"And I will thank God if he can make us world champions again."
Maradona's belief that his side can bring the trophy home from South Africa was backed up by his captain Javier Mascherano.
"This match was very important because it was against a team that is always a candidate in the international competitions in Europe and the World Cup," said the Liverpool midfielder.
"It was a very good test for us because we needed to know which was our level and I think we did it well because we did what the coach has planned.
"It wasn't a friendly for us as we had our tactics planned like it was a World Cup so for us, today started the World Cup and we did it with a victory."