Papers, podcasts and blogs are full of the demise of Argentina. Maradona makes good press. His Anglo detractors remain bitter. The Argentine domestic game is bankrupt. Yet, despite the noise, Argentina remain poised to qualify. The competition in South America is stale. A home win against lowly Peru should almost certainly seal their South Atlantic passage.
Argentina's poor form has somehow detracted attention from the potential problems of Europe's marquee performers.
It may not be so obvious yet, except in the case of France, but Germany and Italy are also not yet assured of group success, and other notables such as Portugal have been missing in action. Germany and Italy may currently lead their respective groups, but both nations are responsible for some seriously disjointed football and a second place playoff remains a possibility for all three European football superpowers. Argentina is in good company.
Meanwhile, Africa's Black Stars are shining bright, her Elephants are thundering South, her Indomitable Lions have been aroused and are hungry again, and her Desert Foxes have are executing an cunning plan.