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Argentina take aim at winning World Cup after somehow emerging from chaos

A year ago the Argentinian FA was on its knees and Lionel Messi wanted to quit international football. On Saturday they play Russia in Moscow with fresh hope

On Saturday Argentina face Russia in a friendly at the Luzhniki Stadium, a venue the team now hope to revisit in eight months’ time for the World Cup final.

Having qualified for next summer’s tournament, courtesy of Lionel Messi’s hat-trick against Ecuador in October, Jorge Sampaoli’s team are finally in Russia, a place many doubted they would make it to a little over a year ago. It is difficult to overstate the seriousness of the trouble that was threatening the very existence of one of the most famous national teams.

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