Argentina to Qatar with a record of 36 matches without defeat

DOHA: Argentina entered the Qatar World Cup with the highest confidence when they extended their unbeaten record to 36 matches after thrashing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 5-0 in the final preparations ahead of the most prestigious football tournament yesterday.

Lionel Messi and his teammates arrived in Qatar yesterday hoping to snatch the world title they last won in 1986, thus equaling the feat of Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

The Argentina captain scored his 91st goal with the national squad in action in Abu Dhabi, but he remains wary of their chances even as a select team.

ANGEL Di Maria (second, left) celebrates scoring as Argentina beat the UAE 5-0 in a friendly in Abu Dhabi yesterday. – AFP

“We are in an interesting group but we only think one game at a time.

“We realize the World Cup is not easy,” he said.

Argentina, who won the 1978 and 1986 World Cups, will open their Group C campaign against Saudi Arabia next Tuesday, followed by Mexico and Poland.

French PLAYERS pictured on their way to Qatar. – COURTESY OF FRENCH FA

Meanwhile, the defending champions, France also arrived in Doha yesterday on a mission to become the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962.

Ten players who helped them win in Russia in 2018 are in the squad this time around including captain Hugo Lloris, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann but they are missing central midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema has recovered from injury and is ready to face Australia next Wednesday. – AGENCIES

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