Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi missed a penalty during Argentina's opening 1-1 draw against Iceland. In this picture, Argentina forward Messi reacts at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Argentina and Iceland at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, June 16, 2018. FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images

Argentina relies on Lionel Messi’s prodigal talent to help them win matches, but they will not win the World Cup if the rest of the team does not help him, according to former Albiceleste striker Hernan Crespo.

The 1986 World Cup winners began their 2018 campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Iceland, a game that also saw Messi miss a penalty. It was a difficult game for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who was tightly marked by the Iceland players.

Messi was not afforded the space to impact the game like he usually does when he turns up in the colors of Barcelona. He is key if Argentina want to make it to the latter stages of the competition and Crespo has called on the rest of the squad to step up.

The former Argentine striker, who played in three World Cups during his career, believes Messi unlike Diego Maradona cannot singlehandedly carry his team to the cup, like the latter did in 1986. He could carry the team forward with his individual skill, but Crespo feels the diminutive magician needs the help of his teammates to flourish despite being one of the most talented footballers to grace the pitch in the history of the game.

“Messi isn't Maradona, he can't win the World Cup by himself. This is something Argentinians and the rest of his teammates must understand. He is phenomenal if you put him in the right conditions, like he has at Barcelona. Any other way and he tires,” Crespo said, as per Spanish publication Sport.

“Leo can go past one or two, but Dieguito dribbled past five England players. Do you understand the difference? Who helped Messi against Iceland? Di Maria didn't get away from his marker once. The central midfielders didn't help. They didn't play like a team, didn't move like a team. They were all there waiting for Messi but it isn't possible to hand all the responsibility of every action to one player,” he added.

“This is so Leo can make the difference. However, Argentina's matches all follow the same script: Messi against everyone and his teammates just stand watching,” Crespo explained, talking about how Argentina’s coach Jorge Sampaoli should change tactics to ensure Messi has more freedom on the ball.

Argentina, however, are not the only big team in the tournament to suffer a poor start with most of the favorites struggling to live up to their billing. The biggest upset was Mexico’s win over Germany on Sunday.

Germany became the fourth defending champions to lose the opening game of the tournament following in the footsteps of France, Italy and Spain. The reigning champions are now bottom of their group with two games to play.

Brazil, who are the favorites, also struggled to a disappointing draw against Switzerland in the third game Sunday. Neymar was unable to make much of an impact on the game — and came in for some rough treatment from the Swiss midfielders and defenders.

Teams in Group G and H are still to play their games after which the second round of fixtures will begin. England will open their campaign against Tunisia on Monday, while Belgium, who are also in the same group, will take on Panama.