Stormy start for Olympic favourites

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While the weather may have disrupted the first Argentinian friendly warm up in Tokyo yesterday, the storm continues over Lionel 'the Flea' Messi.

The ongoing dispute between Barcelona and the AFA has got so out of hand that FIFA have been brought in to mediate.

The nation hopes that Messi, still training in Spain, will be able to help Argentina keep the Olympic gold. The win, although paling against a World Cup, is still taken seriously by an Argentinian populace looking for respite from the problems that have dogged their 'winter of discontent', that has seen daily protests, food shortages and rampant inflation. Messi is revered in the country (and by Argie Bargy).

The Argentinians failed to shine in their friendly against Japan despite a skillful goal by Angel di Maria.

Angel di Maria celebrates in the rain against Japan

Both Argentina and Japan hit the post in what was a worryingly close game. A fortunate storm led to the game being suspended seven minutes before the final whistle. Overall it was a reasonable game for the blue and whites, but without the genius of Messi, it seems they might have to work harder to retain their favourite status.

Argentina's group is far from easy with Serbia, Australia and the Ivory Coast, each of whom can be tricky opponents.