Lionel Messi's Argentina have the oldest squad at the World Cup this summer, suggesting it really is now or never for the Barcelona superstar and the rest of a talented Albiceleste generation to finally win international silverware before it is too late.

The average age of the 23-man Argentina squad named by coach Jorge Sampaoli was exactly 29 years when announced. Although always among the oldest at the tournament when selections were made, it hadn't initially been so high, with the average inflated when 25-year-old Manuel Lanzini dropped out through injury and was replaced by 32-year-old Enzo Perez.

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The second oldest squad at the tournament belongs to Mexico, whose average age is 28.9, although 39-year-old Rafael Marquez, who has now played at his fifth World Cup, is responsible for bringing it up. Only four others in the Mexico squad are actually older than 31, but just three are under 24.

Egypt's average age of 28.4 was considerably affected by the presence of 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who made his international debut in 1996 before the youngest member of the Egyptian squad, Ramadan Sobhi, was even born.

World Cup newcomers Panama are also among the oldest at an average age of 28.4. Their squad was a real mix of old and young, with Jaime Penedo, Felipe Baloy, Blas Perez and Luis Tejada all 36 or older. Yet 19-year-old Gent midfielder Jose Luis Rodriguez is one of only seven teenagers at the whole tournament.

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Costa Rica (28.5), Russia (28.3), Japan (28.3), Iceland (28.1), Brazil (28.1) and Spain (28.0) are the other nations whose average squad age comes in at 28 or higher.

England, whose oldest player is Ashley Young at just 32 years of age, have one of the youngest squads in Russia, with an average age of 26.0. That is the same as now former Group G rivals Tunisia, but there are still two younger squads whose average age is even lower.

France, a team many people believe could win the trophy for only the second time in their history, have an average age of 25.6. As many as 15 of their 23 players are aged 25 or younger, with 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe the youngest of the squad.

Nigeria, another very popular team with supporters, are the youngest at the World Cup. The average age of their squad is only 25.5, three-and-a-half years younger than Argentina, who the Super Eagles will actually face in their third group game towards the end of June.

Will it be youthful exuberance or experience that counts most in Russia? Only time will tell.

Average Age of All 32 Squads at the 2018 World Cup (*Calculated using the age of every player on 14th June 2018 when the World Cup begins)

Country

Avg. Age

Oldest Player

Youngest Player

Argentina

29.0

Willy Caballero (36)

Paulo Dybala (22)

Mexico

28.9

Rafael Marquez (39)

Edison Alvarez (20)

Costa Rica

28.5

Johnny Acosta (34)

Ian Smith (20)

Egypt

28.4

Essam El-Hadary (45)

Ramadan Sobhi (21)

Panama

28.4

Felipe Baloy (37)

Jose Luis Rodriguez (19)

Russia

28.3

Sergei Ignashevich (38)

Aleksandr Golovin (22)

Japan

28.3

Eiji Kawashima (35)

Kosuke Nakamura (23)

Iceland

28.1

Kari Arnason (35)

Albert Gudmundsson (20)

Saudi Arabia

28.1

Yasser Al-Mosailem (34)

Abdullah Al-Khaibari (21)

Brazil

28.1

Miranda (33)

Gabriel Jesus (21)

Spain

28.0

Pepe Reina (35)

Marco Asensio (22)

Portugal

27.9

Bruno Alves (36)

Ruben Dias (21)

Colombia

27.9

Farid Diaz (34)

Davinson Sanchez (22)

Poland

27.9

Slawomir Peszko (33)

Dawid Kownacki (21)

Uruguay

27.7

Martin Silva (35)

Rodrigo Bentancur (20)

Sweden

27.7

Andreas Granqvist (33)

Emil Krafth (23)

Australia

27.6

Tim Cahill (38)

Daniel Arzani (19)

Croatia

27.4

Danijel Subasic (33)

Duje Caleta-Car (21)

South Korea

27.3

Lee Yong (31)

Lee Seung-woo (20)

Belgium

27.1

Thomas Vermaelen (32)

Youri Tielemans (21)

Peru

27.0

Paolo Guerrero (34)

Renato Tapia (22)

Morocco

26.8

Mbark Boussoufa (33)

Achraf Hakimi (19)

Denmark

26.7

Michael Krohn-Dehli (35)

Kasper Dolberg (20)

Switzerland

26.7

Stephan Lichtsteiner (34)

Breel Embolo (21)

Iran

26.7

Pejman Montazeri (34)

Saeid Ezatolahi (21)

Senegal

26.7

Khadim N'Diaye (33)

Moussa Wague (19)

Germany

26.7

Mario Gomez (32)

Julian Brandt (22)

Serbia

26.3

Vladimir Stojokvic (34)

Luka Jovic (20)

Tunisia

26.0

Aymen Mathlouthi (33)

Bassem Srarfi (20)

England

26.0

Ashley Young (32)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (19)

France

25.6

Steve Mandanda (33)

Kylian Mbappe (19)

Nigeria

25.5

Daniel Akpeyi (32)

Francis Uzoho (19)