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By Jakob Gisik

Team: Argentina

Nickname: La Albiceleste (The White and Sky-blue)

World Cup Appearances: 17 (Champions in 1978 and 1986)

FIFA World Ranking: 5

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli

Captain: Lionel Messi

Player to Watch:  Lionel Messi
All eyes will be on Argentina’s superstar captain Lionel Messi. Considered by many to be the best player in the world, Messi was superb during qualification, scoring seven goals including a hat-trick against Ecuador to secure Argentina a spot in Russia. His club form was also impressive this season, netting 45 goals for Barcelona across all competitions. Messi will turn 31 during the tournament, so this is likely his last shot at lifting the World Cup. If he manages to do so, he will have confirmed his status as one of the all-time greats.

NowUC Predictor: 
Any side with Lionel Messi is a dangerous one, and he should be well supported by the likes of Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. On paper, they should finish atop Group D. However, they were far from impressive during qualification, and if they carry that form into the World Cup, they may struggle to advance from what appears to be a very competitive group.






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