FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Qatar to see first Messi-magic today
Top favourite Argentina is going to take on Saudi Green Falcons in today's match commencing at 4:00pm (BST), from which Messi is going to start his march toward the trophy in his last World Cup mission while Denmark and Tunisia will lock horns at 7:00pm (BST). Even-Steven game between Poland and Mexico will start at 10pm (BST). The stars who can claim millions of hearts today are discussed here.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia
Lionel Messi, Argentina
Arguably the greatest player of all time, with 695 goals for Barcelona and Paris St-Germain and a record seven Ballons d'Or, Messi finally won the Copa America at the most recent attempt. Messi comes into the World Cup in some of his best form in recent years, with 11 goals and 14 assists in 18 games for PSG.
Juventus attacking midfielder Angel Di Maria is the x-factor for Scaloni. The 34-year-old Di Maria played 121 times for the national side and scored 24 goals. Including the winning score in July this year as Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 to win the Copa America and lift its first major title in 28 years. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, Defender Cristian Romero, Midfielder Rodrigo de Paul and Forward Lautaro Martinez all are in good shapes and ready to sync with Messi.
Saudi Arabia is a no-star team, but few players can be impactful in Qatar this year. Winger Al-Dawsari is the biggest name to watch for the Green Falcons. He is a unique talent in an era in which flair players are at somewhat of a premium. Last season in the Saudi League he had a hand in 14 goals in just 21 games - 9 goals and 5 assists. He is expected to feature heavily in the Green Falcons' quest to make their mark in Qatar.
Besides, Centre-back Abdulelah Al-Amri, the most capped players in the squad Yasser Al-Shahrani and Captain Al-Faraj are the Saudi players to watch.
Denmark vs Tunisia
Simon Kjaer, Denmark
Denmark's captain Kjaer is their most experienced player and is fast closing in on Peter Schmeichel's national appearance record of 129. The Guardian named Kjaer its 'Footballer of 2021' and he received the UEFA President's Award and finished 18th in the Ballon d'Or voting.
Joakim Maehle is the key attacking player while Forward Yussuf Poulsen, Midfielder Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg make Danish a balanced side in the middle.
Youssef Msakni, Tunisia
Msakni remains an integral part of the Tunisia set-up. The forward has 17 goals next to his name in 85 appearances for Tunisia while the 27-year old Defender Dylan Bronn, Midfielder Ellyes Skhiri with his ability to shoot from distance and it is clear to see how vital he is to Tunisian hopes at the world finals and Aissa Laidouni are the vital cog in the Tunisia machine.
Poland vs Mexico
Robert Lewandowski, Poland
Poland's legend Lewandowski has racked up 132 appearances and 76 goals, is a key figure off the pitch and can always be found talking to younger squad-members to help integrate them into the squad.
Defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, Centre-back Jan Bednarek and attacking midfielder Piotr Zielinski are further Polish stars to shine today.
Edson Alvarez, Mexico
Known as 'The Machine', Alvarez will be Mexico's main midfield barrier at the World Cup, though his all-round skills have made him a box-to-box operator coveted by some of Europe's biggest clubs.
Couple of veteran players Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and midfielder Andres Guardado are appearing at his fifth World Cup! Meanwhile, Raul Jimenez and Hirving Lozano are the Mexico's goal threats.