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Hamilton: Messi can win World Cup for Maradona

One look at Lionel Messi was enough to convince Bryan Hamilton that he can lead Argentina to World Cup glory in South Africa this summer.

As a pundit for BBC radio, Sky, Setanta Sports and Eurosport, Hamilton is well up on his knowledge of the top players on the planet and one way or another he expects the trophy to be heading to South America.

“I went to the Arsenal v Barcelona Champions League match deliberately to see Lionel Messi up close and he was fantastic,” said Hamilton.

“On a stage like the World Cup finals someone with that kind of talent can really excel.

“I have a feeling that Argentina are about to put all the concerns about the manager and the problems they had in qualifying behind them.

“Diego Maradona was an unbelievable player who had everything, but he has been questioned as a manager.

“I think he’ll have learned a lot from the qualifying campaign and since then.

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“They have some superb players and can afford to leave Esteban Cambiasso out of the squad.

“You can never discount Brazil when it comes to a World Cup. Dunga was a great player and he’s shown himself to be a very good coach, who is very tactically minded.”

Hamilton watched Northern Ireland’s qualifying games and has seen Slovakia progress from a team that came out of nowhere to one that can rock the world.

“Nigel Worthington did as well as could be expected with Northern Ireland in the last campaign,” said Hamilton.

“He could maybe have done better if he’d been a little bit bolder at the start because although Slovakia and Slovenia ended up qualifying for the World Cup, I thought they were there for the taking early on before getting stronger as the group progressed.

“Slovakia could surprise everyone. They are big and strong, but they have ability too and in Vladimir Weiss and Miroslav Stoch they have two young players with real pace and quality that can hurt teams.

“If they get through the group stage anything can happen.

“I don’t see England having any problems getting through their group and I think they can make the quarter-finals.

“After that they will need a bit of luck and that includes fortune in avoiding injuries and suspensions to key players.”

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