Men's Team

World Cup Stories: Maradona and Tevez

The 2010 World Cup will remain in history as the first World Cup played in Africa.

Special for a number of reasons, it was the first World Cup triumph for Spain thanks to Andrés Iniesta's winning goal in the final - and for being the World Cup in which Diego Armando Maradona led the Argentine national team.

Among Diego's 23-man squad was Carlos Tévez.

'El Apache' was playing the second World Cup of his career and the first as City player, after joining in the summer of 2009.

City contributed seven players to the African event, the most yet, surpassing later in Brazil 2014 (10), Russia 2018 (16) and in the current World Cup in Qatar (16).

Gareth Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips represented England, Nigel De Jong was runner-up with the Netherlands, Roque Santa Cruz took Paraguay to the quarter-finals where they were beaten by the champions Spain and Kolo Touré would command the defence for Ivory Coast.

In 2010 Argentina gambled on the mystique of Maradona to seek the dream of winning a third World Cup.

The eternal Argentine '10' had taken Alfio Basile's place in 2008, after a defeat against Chile in the South American qualifiers.

Diego took charge of an Argentine team that, in addition to Tévez, had Leo Messi, future City legend Sergio Agüero, Javier Mascherano, Juan Sebastián Verón and Ángel Di María.

Maradona made his coaching debut in a 1-0 win over Scotland and was even able to beat France in a friendly.

But Argentina also suffered a historic 6-1 defeat against Bolivia.

The Albiceleste did not book their ticket to South Africa until the final two agonizing group qualifying victories against Perú and Uruguay.

On African soil, Argentina passed the group stage with victories against Nigeria (1-0), South Korea (4-1) and Greece (2-0), with Tévez participating in two of the three games.

Carlitos was the main man in the 3-1 victory against México in the quarter-finals with two goals with Gonzalo Higuaín also on target.

But Argentina would stumble, once again, against Germany in the quarter-finals, just as they had four years before.

The Germans shattered the Argentine dream with a resounding 4-0 win.

Diego Maradona would never take a seat again on the Albiceleste bench again with his 25-game tenure resulting in 18 victories and seven defeats.

"I was chosen by Diego, and what I like the most is that he chose me from beginning to end," Carlos commented after Maradona's death in 2020.

Both also shared their love for Boca Juniors.

"At the World Cup there were whole nights with him, he came to my room, and we had an incredible time.

“I could write a book about him, the relationship became stronger.

"I had a lot of confidence with him, I spent every day with Diego and six hours more on our own, drinking matés (Argentine tea), and talking.

"For me he was like my second dad.”

Argentina will look to progress to the Round of 16 on Wednesday evening, but first they must get past Poland in their final group game.

If they do, it's likely more memories and stories of Diego Maradona will surface.

The World Cup was, after all, always his stage...

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