Watch: Messi-led Argentina leaves for World Cup 2018

Reuters
Buenos Aires, Argentina Published: May 31, 2018, 12:18 PM(IST)

Argentina's national team was bid farewell by President Mauricio Macri and a throng of fans as they set off for Barcelona on Wednesday, where they will train ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Photograph:( Reuters )

Argentina's national team was bid farewell by President Mauricio Macri and a throng of fans as they set off for Barcelona on Wednesday (May 30), where they will train ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

With Barcelona striker Lionel Messi at the helm, the team hopes to consolidate a group of strong individual players, particularly strikers, who have struggled to reproduce their club form at international level.

Coach Jorge Luis Sampaoli's team has struggled on the field, only qualifying for this year's tournament thanks to a win in their final qualifying match.

Messi, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, has said winning the World Cup with his country would be a unique experience, and he does not wish he chose to play for Spain, who lifted the trophy in 2010.

The twice world champions and runners-up four years ago in Brazil also play Israel on June 9 before heading to Russia.

Argentina will play in Group D against Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria. Their first match will be against Iceland on Saturday, June 16, with later matches scheduled on June 21 and June 26.

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