The World Cup is less than a week away, and it’s fair to say Argentina’s preparations for the tournament haven’t been exactly smooth sailing.
A controversial warm-up game against Israel was cancelled, Manuel Lanzini has been ruled out with a serious injury and they head to Russia having only managed one friendly against Haiti.
Argentina will still be expecting Lionel Messi to inspire them to victory, and former Barcelona star Patrick Kluivert has highlighted just how important he is to his country.
“Messi is an important player, both for Barcelona and Argentina. I think he’s 50% of the national team. I do not think it depends only on him, but on a good day he powers everything.
“Of course he is human and one day you can wake up not quite right. Then things can be complicated for Argentina. In qualifying, when he was not there, the team suffered. They did not have the brilliance and could not win the games that with Messi they would surely have won.”
Source | Ole
There will be huge pressure on Messi at the World Cup of course, and it will be interesting to see how they fare after a tough qualifying campaign.
Argentina start off their campaign on Saturday 16th June against Iceland. They then face Croatia before completing their group campaign against Nigeria.