- Argentina pictured warming up during the 1934 FIFA World Cup
- The South Americans arrived in Italy having finished runners-up in 1930
- A first-round exit precipitated a long period of exile for La Albiceleste
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Argentina certainly were in 1934, and they had every reason to arrive in Italy with great expectations. They had, after all, reached the final of the tournament's inaugural edition four years earlier, sweeping aside France, Mexico, Chile and USA before losing out to hosts Uruguay in the decider.
But the squad that touched down in Italy bore little resemblance to the one that had come within touching distance of the Trophy in 1930. Gone were Guillermo Stabile, that first World Cup's top scorer, and captain Manuel Ferreira, while star midfielder Luis Monti had switched allegiances to represent the Italians after joining Juventus.
They also had a new man in the dugout, with Juan Tramutola - still the youngest coach in World Cup history, having led the team at the age of 27 in 1930 - having been replaced by Felipe Pascucci. And the changes did not produce the desired effect.
The above image shows La Albiceleste warming up for their 1934 opener against Sweden, with a pre-match routine far removed from those we will see at Russia 2018. But this first game at the tournament was also to prove their last, as a 3-2 defeat in Bologna ended their participation in the very first round.
Argentina would not play another World Cup match for 24 years, in fact, as they declined to participate in the next three editions in France, Brazil and Switzerland. But while their return was followed by two more first-round exits, the South American giants have of course gone on to win the Trophy twice. Now these five-time finalists will be hoping to add to their title tally in Russia.
Did you know?
The passport of Luis Monti, who is the only player to appear in two FIFA World Cup finals for different countries - Argentina in 1930 and Italy in 1934 - can be found in the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich.