In the two previous major tournaments Argentina have finished runners up. Losing to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 and losing to their current manager, Jorge Sampaoli, Chile side in the final of the 2015 Copa America on penalties.
With this in mind qualifying for the World Cup should be no trouble. However, they made it very hard work. Five of the ten teams have the chance of qualifying in South America and with the likes of Venezuela and Bolivia in the federation the big nations nearly always qualify. This wasn't the case, Argentina had to wait until the last match day where they needed to win. They played Ecuador on the last match day and it took an inspired performance from Messi, scoring a hat-trick, for them to win 3-1 and qualify for this World Cup.
During qualifying Argentina went through three managers. This means they haven't had any continuity and never had the same constant squad or tactics. As we've seen with the likes of Iceland and England this year team harmony and knowing each others roles is a huge part of tournament football.
Argentina were in with a chance of missing their first World Cup since 1970. The country continued to come out in their numbers to support but it was not always enough to rally the side. Argentina is a country where every decision divides opinion at the best of times. When it comes to matters of football the extremists come out. When Sampaoli came in he didn't get off to a great start and it became more important to start getting results than implementing his style of football. They limped over the line and strangely expectation began to build for this World Cup.