On Thursday night, Argentina faces Croatia in Group D of the World Cup. A defeat against the Croats would put their chances of making the knockout stages in major jeopardy.
La Albiceleste produced a lacklustre display in their opening game, a 1-1 draw with Iceland. The game could have been oh so different if star man Lionel Messi had not seen a penalty saved by Icelandic goalkeeper Halldorsson. In truth, Messi had a rare poor game and the team suffered because of it.
Argentina has a bad case of Messi-dependency and it has lasted close to a decade. The little Barcelona star is an outstanding player there is no doubt about it, but he is only human.
His Argentina teammates seem to watch him in awe at times when he has the ball. It is almost as if they are watching the little magician like spectators, rather than teammates.
The Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli has not helped the situation by admitting that the whole team is geared towards Lionel Messi. That is a poor message to send out to the other players.
Yes, we all know Messi is their best player. However, for a coach to come out and say that in public is incredible.
Where are Aguero, Dybala and Higuain?
The question that I would like to ask is where is Sergio Aguero, Paolo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain? These players have been highly prolific in European football for a long time.
Admittedly, Aguero scored in the opening game against Iceland. However, he produced very little else in the game. He was invisible at times. Higuain came on as a substitute and I cannot remember him having a sniff of goal.
Sampaoli decided not to even bring Dybala off the bench against the Nordic nation. All three of these players have the ability to win a match, but so many times in the last decade, they have failed to shine in an Argentina shirt.
Such talent seems to have gone to waste, as a number of different bosses have tried to figure out how to get the best out of the plethora of attacking players available to the national side.
Argentinian midfield needs more creativity
One of the main problems with Messi is that he is trying too hard to be everything, the creator and the scorer. He is coming deep to pick up the ball because the players behind him are showing very little creativity.
The likes of Maximiliano Meza and Angel Di Maria have shown in the past that they are creative players, yet they struggled to create much against a well-drilled Iceland team.
Argentina must do better against the highly experienced Croats on Thursday night. They must create more and attempt to move away from their dependency on Messi to produce something.
Lionel Messi is only human, despite his often brilliants skill and goals. Now more than ever he needs his Argentinian teammates to step-up their game, as Messi may win them the game, but as the Iceland game showed, he may not.
Argentina do not look good enough to win the World Cup. However, if the Barcelona star is at his best they will always have a chance. Give him a little help eh lads!
Can Argentina overcome their reliance on Lionel Messi?