Eight years ago Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni helped Argentina knock of the heavily-favorite United States to capture gold at the Athens Olympics.

Does Manu Ginobili have one more run left in him? (Eric Gay/AP)

Expectations are tempered for a team with aging stars and little in the way of youthful reinforcements. Ginobili will turn 35 on July 28, the day round-robin play begins, Scola and Nocioni are both 32, and the Gauchos could try to coax 37-year-old retired center Fabricio Oberto out of retirement.

And while soccer remains king in the South American country, Lionel Messi and company failed to qualify for the London tournament, planting the spotlight squarely on the basketball court.

“The gold medal is very tough, almost a utopia,” Ginobili said in an interview with the Associated Press.”But getting the bronze medal would not be impossible. The United States and Spain are still the favorites. Then comes France and after that there is a pack of four, five or six teams with a chance for bronze.”

Placed into Group A alongside the United States and France, even reaching the medal rounds will be a tall task for Argentina. But if age is the concern, Ginobili can draw confidence from San Antonio’s spirited run this season. One of the oldest teams in the NBA, the Spurs grabbed the top seed in the Western Conference and can sweep their way into the second round with a win Monday night in Utah.

Luis Scola provides toughness and skilled passing in the paint. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Back in Argentina, an advertisement that links the London Olympics to a dispute over the Falkland Islands is causing a stir. The ad, which aired on state-run television during halftime of a soccer match between Boca Juniors and Rafaela, was denounced by the International Olympic Committee, which warned that the games should not be used, “to raise political issues.”

The ad shows Argentina field hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running through Stanley, the islands’ capital, passing a British pub and iconic London telephone booth. The text reads: “To compete on English soil, we must train on Argentine soil.” (Watch the ad here.)

The Falkland Islands are under British control and residents appear overwhelmingly content to remain in such a state despite efforts by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to hold talks over sovereignty.

More London 2012 coverage from Washington Post Sports:

Team U.S.A. to face Argentina, France in tougher pool at Olympics

Profiles in Speed: Matthew Centrowitz learns the strategy behind speed

Profiles in Speed: Missy Franklin has body built for speed

Profiles in Speed: Carmelita Jeter shows value of technology in training