Argentina and the current World Cup champions, France, will both be playing in Qatar on Tuesday, giving Lionel Messi what is undoubtedly his final opportunity to win the tournament. Day three of one of the most contentious World Cups in history will include four matches after England thrashed Iran 6-2 to demonstrate their title credentials.
Argentina, led by Messi and his much tipped team, will take the field first when they take on Saudi Arabia in Group C, followed by Denmark’s matchup with Tunisia in Group D.
The final game of the day pits the defending champions France, led by Kylian Mbappe, against Australia in Group D. The evening matches pit Robert Lewandowski’s Poland against Mexico in Group C. But Messi, the forward, will be the centre of attention.
The 35-year-old is one of the greatest footballers of all time and has essentially won it all, but World Cup glory has eluded him, and this is undoubtedly his final opportunity to make up for that glaring omission. “It is probably my last World Cup, my last chance to land this great dream that we all have,” Messi told reporters in Doha on Monday.
“I don’t know if this is my happiest moment, but I feel great. I’m older, more mature, I want to make the most of everything, to live it with the maximum intensity and to enjoy every moment that I have.” Messi twice trained separately from the rest of the team in recent days, but he made the decision to allay Argentines’ worries that he might not be ready for Saudi Arabia. “I trained apart because I had a knock, it was precautionary, but nothing unusual,” he said.