Last edition's runners-up Argentina face World Cup finals debutants in a Group D opener at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Saturday, June 16.

When is Argentina's first match of Fifa World Cup 2018 and how to watch it live

The much-anticipated Group D encounter will start at 3 pm local time, 6:30 pm IST and 2 pm BST.

Sony ESPN, Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3 will provide live television coverage of the match in India. Live stream will be available on Sony Liv.

Can Lionel Messi & Co. start with a bang?

Lionel Messi Argentina
Can Lionel Messi deliver for Argentina in their opening tie.Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

With the man himself saying that his World Cup future will depend on the La Albiceleste's performance in Russia, the South American giants will be hoping for a strong start on Saturday.

Argentina had an ordinary qualifying campaign, during which they had played under three different coaches. However, Jorge Sampaoli helped Argentina, who in danger of missing a Russia berth regroup, as Lionel Messi struck a hat-trick against Ecuador in October last year.

With defeats to Spain and Nigeria, Argentina haven't been in their best form in the lead-up to the quadrennial tournament but they will be hoping for a fresh start in Moscow.

Sampaoli has the resources in his squad to take Argentina the distance in the ongoing campaign but a lot will depend on how Messi, who is carrying a huge burden of expectations, handles the pressure. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa, fellow golden boot contenders, making a strong start on Friday, the onus is now on the Barcelona superstar to deliver.

Despite having a few concerns at the back, Argentina have some of the world's best names at the other end of the pitch. Sampaoli has handed starts to Messi, Sergio Aguero, and Angel di Maria while leaving the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Cristian Pavon on the bench for their opener.

Do Iceland have plans to counter Messi threat?

On the other hand, Iceland, arguably the team of Euro 2016, will be facing a huge test in their first-ever World Cup finals tie. The return of Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from an injury layoff just in time for the biggest showdown is a big boost to the European side.

Iceland surprised quite a few with their well-organised approach against top teams, including Portugal and England at the continental competition two years ago. While they held the Ronaldo-led side in the group stages, the spirited unit booted out England in the Round of 16.

Heimir Hallgrímsson's men will be looking to shut down Messi just like the way they frustrated Ronaldo two years ago in France, according to Burnley winger Johann Gudmundsson.

"It will be tough to play against him [Messi] but as long as he is frustrated and can't score, we're happy. Let's just go out there and try to beat them and make him even angrier [than Ronaldo was]," Guomundsson said, as quoted by Goal.

With group games against Nigeria and Croatia coming up, a good start against favourites Argentina will only help boost Iceland's confidence.

Argentina vs Iceland: Team News

Fifa World Cup 2018: Live stream and global TV listings

  1. Australia: TV: SBS; Live stream: SBS, Optus Sport
  2. UK: ITV1.
  3. USA: Fox and Telemundo.
  4. Russia: VGTRK.
  5. Middle East: Bein Sports.