These photos show Lionel Messi really endured nightmare World Cup opener

These photos show Lionel Messi really endured nightmare World Cup opener

Lionel Messi dragged Argentina into this World Cup.

Playing under a third different manager of their qualifying campaign, his hat-trick in their last group match against Ecuador was pretty much the only reason they made it to Russia.

The Barcelona forward stated he would swap any of his club honours for a World Cup and enjoyed an impressive Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign before failing to deliver in the 1-0 defeat by Germany in the final.

Messi turns 31 next Sunday, so this could possibly be his last chance to dominate a World Cup and emulate his No 10 predecessor Diego Maradona, although it is inconceivable he will not be selected for Qatar 2022 if he is still playing.

And is if the weight and hopes of a nation were not enough, the pressure on him to perform in this match against Iceland hit unprecedented heights after nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo's heroic hat-trick for Portugal against Spain on Friday night.

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