Argentina and superstar Lionel Messi arrived in Qatar for the World Cup early on Thursday, just hours after a 5-0 warm-up victory, while defending champions France have also touched down in Doha.
Messi, 35, has a sackful of trophies but the tournament in Qatar is likely to be his final chance to equal the achievement of fellow Argentine great Diego Maradona in leading his country to World Cup glory.
He landed with the Argentina squad in the Qatari capital Doha at 2:30 am (2330 GMT, Wednesday) from Abu Dhabi where they had beaten the United Arab Emirates 5-0 Wednesday in a friendly in which Messi scored.
One of the favourites going into this year’s World Cup, the South Americans will begin their campaign on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia in Group C, which also includes Mexico and Poland.
The 1978 and 1986 World Cup winners extended their unbeaten run to 36 matches as Messi scored his 91st international goal.