Lionel Messi Gonzalo Higuain Sergio Aguero Argentina
Sergio Aguero (R) will partner Lionel Messi up front with Gonzalo Higuain (C) missing out for Argentina in their Fifa World Cup 2018 opener against IcelandJuan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi begins the latest quest for the elusive major international title on Saturday, when Argentina play Iceland in a Group D match of the Fifa World Cup 2018.

Messi has been tasked with the heavy burden of guiding Argentina to a long-awaited World Cup title, and just to get that confidence going, that positive feeling going, the Barcelona man will want to make a really good start both personally and as a team.

The pressure is already on as far as the individual honours are concerned, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick in his opening match, while Diego Costa showed he might be in the running for the Golden Ball as well with a brace of his own in a hard-to-take-your-eyes-off Group B cracker between Portugal and Spain on Friday.

While Argentina vs Iceland isn't quite as evenly matched as Portugal vs Spain, the South Americans will know the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup are no pushovers.

Just ask England.

Therefore, Jorge Sampaoli, the manager, will undoubtedly go with what he feels is the strongest side for this match.

So, what does that mean for this delectable-looking Argentina frontline? Who will join Messi in attack? Sampaoli has Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Cristian Pavon and Paulo Dybala to choose from and that is without adding Angel Di Maria, who is just as capable of playing well upfield.

Well, that was a question that was answered by Sampaoli himself, when he named the Argentina starting XI in his pre-match press conference on Friday. So, we already know that Di Maria and Aguero will be the ones helping Messi out up front, with Sampaoli left with a tasty bench that includes the Juventus duo of Higuain and Dybala.

With the starting XI already known, it does give Iceland a better idea of what to expect and their manager Heimir Hallgrimsson can prepare his team accordingly.

As they showed in Euro 2016, Iceland are an extremely well-organised side, capable of causing plenty of upsets. They will look to add their biggest scalp yet, by jolting Argentina in this World Cup Group D opener.

Team news:


Well, there isn't much to ponder over here, with Sampaoli naming his playing XI. Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano and Maximiliano Meza starting in midfield, while Manchester United man Marcos Rojo gets the nod at centre-back alongside Nicolas Otamendi.

Willy Caballero will be in goal for Argentina, with the Chelsea goalkeeper getting the nod as first-choice for this World Cup, after Manchester United's Sergio Romero had to pull out due to injury.


The creative head Gylfi Sigurdsson returned from a long-term injury in a friendly against Ghana last week, so, unless there has been a setback, the Everton playmaker should be in the starting XI for Iceland's first ever World Cup finals match.

Confirmed starting XI:

Argentina: Caballero; Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Biglia, Meza; Messi, Di Maria; Aguero.

Iceland: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson; Gudmundsson, G Sigurdsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason.