27 May ~ Following Argentina's 5-0 demolition of Canada in their final World Cup warm-up match on Monday evening, Diego Maradona conjured up a rather disturbing image while on radio by promising to run around the centre of Buenos Aires naked if his side are victorious in South Africa. Football managers are prone to offering to go naked in public – Martin Allen and Gary Johnson have both made similar commitments in the past. But is it likely that the world will be exposed to Diego's untoned frame waddling around the Argentinean capital?
With undoubted ability throughout his squad, which possesses probably the finest player in the world in Lionel Messi, there is a real possibility that he could be forced to act on his promise. Then again, this is Maradona we are talking about, a man who has struggled to organise what is undoubtedly an outstanding group of players since taking over the managerial position in 2008. In what looks to be a relatively straightforward group on paper, consisting of Greece, Nigeria and South Korea, the minimum requirement for Argentina will be to reach the knockout stages.
But you wonder what prompted Maradona to exclude Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso from his World Cup squad, considering their recent success in the Champions League with Inter Milan. Should the side fail to deliver the goods this summer, this decision will certainly come back to haunt him.
The bookmakers' odds of Argentina lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in July are surprisingly long and as such reflective of the man they have in charge. But it would certainly be dangerous to write off a side that contains the likes of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Diego Milito and Javier Mascherano. And if the players can realise their potential on the world stage, a terrible sight awaits us. Ryan Forrester