World Cup choices by the man in the street

Liverpool-Mohamed Salah

Liverpool-Mohamed Salah

"I don't want to speak about my future", he said. "For now I'm only concerned about the present and doing the best I can in this World Cup". He's got every chance if it clicks for England because nobody gets more clear-cut openings than him and if we can avoid Brazil in the quarter-finals then we could go far. The Super Eagles are determined to avoid another World Cup defeat to the Argentines when their clash in their last group D game on June 26.

For most modern day football fans, Lionel Messi is King.

Kareen: Argentina has good flair, technique and the envy of world football, Messi.

Messi has been to three major finals with Argentina, losing all three. That always makes it more complicated.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi suggests that the South American nation are prepared for a tough set of fixtures during the group stages of the World Cup. He's not just a player, he's an engine.

Surrounded with a technically gifted midfield and the blistering pace of Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe, the 27-year-old is likely to get in on the action against Australia, Peru, and Denmark.

Experienced figures such as Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, in particular, will be under pressure to step up after so many tournament disappointments.

Lionel Messi, and it isn't even close. Now, Messi is the man and he's hungry for it; so, he's going to do it.

The near misses have certainly piqued national frustration and Messi, naturally, is the most obvious target for that. Watching him play is such a privilege in itself that all arguments become moot.

Let's say for argumentative purposes that Spain had succeeded in convincing Messi to give his allegiance to the Spanish national team in 2003 (Since Messi carries dual citizenship between Spain and Argentina, he could have very well chosen which country to play for, yet ultimately chose to stick to his birth country of Argentina).

If Argentina are to prevail, Messi must flourish, but the pressure on him is unremitting.

Four years ago in Brazil, Argentina held off another World Cup newcomer from Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Messi's second-half goal decisive in a 2-1 win.