Bittersweet start for Argentinian Olympic teams

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Stood amongst the spectacular fireworks of the Olympic opening ceremony was one Lionel Messi.

After weeks of wrangling that involved FIFA, the highest levels of the clubs and a sports arbitration board, Barcelona finally let Messi play.

In their opening game, before the ceremony, Argentina beat the Ivory Coast 2-1. Defending their gold medal, Argentina showed more cohesion than in many of their recent games, thanks largely to Riquelme's intelligent leadership.

Messi bags opener vs Ivory Coast

However, the women's team fared worse, losing to Canada in the first sporting event of the Games.

But the Argentine's have plenty to look forward to: swimmer Georgina Bardach won the bronze four years ago, Miguel Albarrcin is looking of his first Olympic medal in judo and long-distant cyclists Matías Medici, Alejandro Borrajo and Juan José Haedo will be charging 245 km around the streets of Beijing hoping for a podium place.

The best bet's for Argentina gold medals, apart from the men's football squad, are with the basketball team led by, star of NBA's San Antonio Spurs, Emanuel Ginobili, who carried the flag into the arena.

But no one, particularly Argie Bargy, can forget Las Leonas' female field hockey team.

There are 139 Argentines at the Games hoping to beat the two gold medals they won in Athens.