THE BOSS JORGE SAMPAOLI
It says a great deal that the former Chile manager is at the World Cup and they are not. Sampaoli, who led the Chileans to the last 16 in 2014 and won the Copa America the following year, has been in charge of his home country since 2017.
THE STAR LIONEL MESSI
Time is running out for Messi, who turns 31 during the tournament, to win football’s biggest prize. The Barcelona forward heads to Russia in fine form, finishing as Europe’s top scorer with 45 goals this season. He is pure class.
THE PROSPECT GIOVANI LO CELSO
Deep-lying midfielder, 22, with a good passing range who became a fixture in PSG’s treble-winning side.
When you have forwards such as Messi (right), Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala, you are always going to stand a great chance.
The same cannot be said for the defence. Javier Mascherano now plays in China while Roma’s Federico Fazio struggled to handle Liverpool’s forwards in Europe.