- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

With a squad packed full of talent from Europe’s top clubs, Argentina is certainly one of the title contenders at this year’s World Cup.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is spoiled for choice, particularly up front with Lionel Messi the main scoring threat, so he can afford to leave out top-class players like Carlos Tevez.

Even without Tevez, plenty of goals are expected from Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

Here are five players to watch:


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LIONEL MESSI

Though immensely gifted, Lionel Messi was too young to make an impact at the 2006 World Cup. Four years later, he failed, like Argentina overall, to fulfill expectations in South Africa.

This year’s World Cup in Brazil is Messi’s chance to make a mark on football’s greatest stage and prove to those who still have doubts about his ability.

At 26, the Barcelona maestro will be at a peak age for a footballer and he’ll be surrounded by talent in an Argentine team that won its qualifying group and is considered one of the title favorites.

Even if Argentina doesn’t make it all the way, watching Messi weave through opponents promises to be one of the highlights of the World Cup.

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GONZALO HIGUAIN

Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer from Real Madrid to Napoli appears to have done him good.

Even though he scored 121 goals over seven seasons in Madrid, Higuain never established himself as a regular starter. He has done that at Napoli, where he’s become a mainstay in the attack and the team’s top scorer.

A clinical striker, Higuain has also been successful when called up by the national team. He scored nine goals in South American qualifying. Only Messi and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez had more.

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