Lionel Messi said Argentina did not fear any team at the World Cup but urged fans to remain calm with the tournament in Qatar less than a month away.
Argentina, the Copa America champions, are unbeaten in 35 matches since 2019 and are drawn with Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland in Group C as they look to win their first World Cup title since 1986.
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“Today we are doing well and people are excited and they think we will return with the cup, but it is not,” Messi, the captain of Argentina and the star of Paris Saint-Germain, told Directive Sports.
“The World Cup is very difficult, many things have to happen [to win it]Not only because we’re doing well, there are a lot of things that can leave you out and there are a lot of teams that want the same thing as us that are doing well.
“We are excited, we will fight, we are not afraid of anyone because we are ready to play against anyone, but with peace of mind.”
Messi also said that holders France and their South American team are the favorites to win the title in Qatar.
Argentina began their 2018 World Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw with Iceland – a match in which Messi missed a penalty – and finished second in their group before losing to France in the last 16.
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Messi believes the opening match against Saudi Arabia on November 22 will be key to the team’s chances.
Messi said: “In the first minutes of the first match, it is difficult to control the nerves and anxiety.”
“I think the first match is very important because starting with a win gives you peace of mind.
“In the last World Cup, we started with a draw and I always said if I scored the penalty and we won it we would have changed the whole story.”
Argentina plays its final preliminary match against the United Arab Emirates on November 16.