Messi: 'Individual quality key to Argentina's hopes'

Argentina's individual quality means it can compete with anyone at the World Cup, according to captain Lionel Messi.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi views Argentina's impressive collection of star talents as a reason for optimism ahead of a "very even" World Cup.

The Barcelona superstar headlines a 23-man squad full of dangerous forwards, including Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain.

However, a perceived vulnerability in defence has been raised as a barrier to coach Jorge Sampaoli's chances of leading the country to its first triumph since 1986.

Messi accepts the Albiceleste may not rank among the major contenders, but he sees their individual quality as providing hope for a successful tournament.

"We are going with great enthusiasm and much desire," the skipper told DeporTV, as reported by Marca.

"We have been preparing very well throughout our training camp. We have great players on an individual level and we will fight as an equal to any team, even if we are not the favourites."

Messi heads to the World Cup as the reigning Golden Ball winner after leading Argentina to the final in Brazil four years ago.

The 30-year-old, who has also been part of two squads to reach the quarterfinals, expects this instalment to be decided by fine margins.

"I have taken part in three World Cups in three different situations because of how they were played, and in all of them I took positive things," he said.

"The great favourites will arrive very well in terms of both their team and their individual players. I think it is going to be a very even World Cup."

Argentina commences its campaign against Iceland on June 16 before further Group D meetings with Croatia and Nigeria.

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