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.
“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.
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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