Veteran Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastien Veron claims under-fire team manager Diego Maradona is struggling to put together an efficient team of 11 players despite having a wealth of quality at his disposal.

Argentina have slipped to fifth in the qualifying standings in South America, a place below the automatic qualification slots, after losing four of their last five matches.

Veron admitted in an interview with La Red radio station he was concerned about Argentina's qualifying chances, and claimed that Maradona has picked players who are not on the kind of form needed to play for the Albiceleste.

"We've got great players but the coach (Maradona) hasn't really unearthed his best team yet," said Veron.

Here, everyone expects Lio [Messi] to dribble through five players and then score a goal. But he can't do everything himself.

Juan Sebastien Veron.

The last time Argentina, FIFA World Cup™ champions in 1978 and 1986, failed to make the finals was in 1970. After recent defeats to Brazil and Paraguay, Veron believes they are in a precarious position.

"Anything could happen," said the 34-year-old when asked whether Argentina were in danger of not qualifying. "The fact is that there are players in the team who are not in their very best form."

Veron highlighted Barcelona's highly-regarded striker Lionel Messi, but defended the player by saying: "At Barcelona they play a game of short, quick passes which is different to the way Argentina play. Here, everyone expects Lio [Messi] to dribble through five players and then score a goal. But he can't do everything himself."

Argentina host already-eliminated Peru on 10 October before travelling to neighbours Uruguay, who trail them by a single point, four days later.

Failure to finish among the top four would force Argentina into a two-legged play-off to secure their ticket for the finals in South Africa next summer.