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Messi takes center stage as Argentina begins World Cup bid
June 15, 2014 / 8:04 AM / in 3 years

Messi takes center stage as Argentina begins World Cup bid

Argentine national soccer team player Lionel Messi stands next to coach Alejandro Sabella during a training session for the 2014 World Cup at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

(Reuters) - Lionel Messi takes center stage on Sunday when Argentina face tournament debutants Bosnia in their World Cup opener in Rio De Janeiro and France begin their campaign without injured winger Franck Ribery.

Four-times world player of the year Messi spearheads an Argentine attack including Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria which is likely to give opposing defenses plenty of problems throughout the tournament.

The South Americans are bidding for their third world title as they begin the tournament against an inexperienced Bosnia side who will look to Edin Dzeko for goals in the Group F match at the Maracana.

France should fancy their chances against Honduras in their Group E opener in Porto Alegre but the Central Americans will hope the former champions’ penchant for erratic performances opens the door for an upset.

A first-ever meeting between Switzerland and Honduras could be instrumental in deciding who finishes second in Group E where France are seen as likely winners and Honduras are considered rank outsiders.

Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Ed Osmond

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