What to Expect from Lionel Messi Against Argentina's World Cup Group Opponents
With the World Cup groups now determined, the real work begins. Lionel Messi and Argentina are looking to lift the World Cup trophy on Brazilian soil, and it all starts with Group F.
Argentina was handed the first spot in the group due to their ranking before Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria were all seeded with the South Americans.
La Albiceleste are clearly the favorites to win the group, and Messi will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. In this article we will take a look at how Messi will play against Argentina's opponents and what fans should be expecting.
Feel free to get involved in discussion below and tell us how you think the Barcelona star will do in Group F.
Argentina defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina in November by the score of 2-0 with both goals coming from Sergio Aguero. The South Americans may have won the game, but they were definitely put to the test.
Bosnia-Herzegovina boasts an incredible attacking line led by Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic. However, for all the talent they have up front, their defense is severely lacking.
Argentina will likely have to deal with several strong attacks from their opponents, but offensively they will thrive. Messi's speed and ability to change the game will be the difference maker between these two offensive teams, and fans can expect the 26-year-old to be in dominant form.
Messi is more than capable of both scoring goals and creating chances. He will have to do both against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you can bet he will lead Argentina to a hard fought victory.
Iran won their group to qualify for the World Cup while proving to be a capable defending side that also boasts a strong counterattack. You can expect that they will try the same against Argentina, but the South Americans will be ready.
With a focus on winning the ball back, Iran will put numbers behind Argentina. Messi is used to facing heavy defending with Barcelona and will bring that experience to his national team as well.
Look for Messi to create space and try to get the ball in behind the defense. Argentina will face Iran had on and the South Americans will be relying on Messi to break any defensive line.
The 26-year-old may play more of a creative role against Iran due to the fact that Argentina has plenty of other scoring options. Messi's creativity will help his side find the back of the net and give his teammates the support they will thrive on.
Iran's counterattacking style will also give Argentina plenty of space to work with after winning back possession. Messi and the rest of the forwards will try to take advantage of this and it could lead to Iran's downfall.
Argentina is expected to ease past Iran just like the rest of their opponents, but they will face a different style of play against the Iranians.
Nigeria may very well end up being the toughest side Argentina will face in the group stage. Fresh off of winning the African Cup of Nations, Nigeria is improving and heading in the right direction.
The Super Eagles have a striking force that would give any defense a headache and also boasts a physical midfield core which could trouble Argentina. However, their defense stands out as their biggest weakness, and you can bet that Argentina will exploit that.
Messi will lead the line as usual and will have the freedom to do what he wants in and around the box. Fans will likely see Messi have a bigger influence against Nigeria than any other group stage opponent, and Argentina will benefit greatly from it.
As a whole, Argentina will have the biggest test against Nigeria. But Messi will also show his best against the Africans.
How do you think Messi and Argentina will do in the group stage? Can Argentina win the World Cup in Brazil? Leave your thoughts and comments below!