Can Lionel Messi Help Guide Argentina to World Cup Success?
Historically, Argentina have enjoyed plenty of success at the World Cup but recently they’ve struggled in this competition. In 2014, they narrowly missed out to Germany and they will be looking to bounce back from that disappointment here. Lionel Messi netted four times during that tournament and many are tipping the Barcelona playmaker to have a big impact in Russia.
Messi has enjoyed another tremendous season in La Liga and his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to be renewed once again this summer with the pair positioned prominently in the Top Goalscorer market. 888Sport have priced up the Argentina star as the 10.00 favourite to secure the golden boot with the Real Madrid magician joint-third favourite at 14.00
There is plenty of pressure on Lionel Messi to deliver but he will be ably assisted by a number of talented team-mates including Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria. The Argentinian FA President Claudio Tapia has issued a warning to the squad suggesting that Messi cannot win the World Cup on his own and hinted that the rest of the players will need to step up their efforts at the tournament. It may be the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s last chance to impress on the biggest stage of all.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side struggled through qualification and needed the Barcelona man to rescue them with a well-timed hat-trick against Ecuador on November 10th. They won just one of their last five matches, picking up just 28 points from 18 games finishing behind both Brazil and Uruguay.
Uruguay Expected Progress to the Last Eight
Uruguay have been drawn in a straight-forward looking group alongside hosts Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Oscar Tabarez’s side are a talented bunch and one of their standout players is Matias Vecino. The midfielder was delighted with his side’s 1-0 success against Wales in the China Cup at the end of March and pointed to his partnership with Rodrigo Bentacur as a key reason for their success. Both players ply their trade in Serie A and they have linked up well during their limited time together in recent outings for Uruguay. Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira is another player who has impressed this season and is likely to feature in Russia.
The South American side have been priced at 2.00 with Sports Interaction to finish top of Group A and they should be able to get the better of injury-hit Russia.