Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has jumped to the defence of Lionel Messi, saying he needs help from his team-mates to win the World Cup in Russia.

The Barcelona superstar endured a difficult opening game at the tournament on Saturday, missing a penalty in his side's surprising 1-1 draw with Group D rivals Iceland.

Messi had 11 shots without scoring - setting a new Argentina record for the World Cup - and was dejected at the final whistle.

Crespo - who won 64 caps for Argentina - has criticised Messi's colleagues and believes they need to provide the 30-year-old with more support.

"Let's start with a fact: Messi deserves a five [for his performance]," Crespo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Of course, we expect more from him, but Messi is not [Diego] Maradona, alone he does not win a World Cup.

"This must be understood first by all Argentinians, and then by his team-mates.

"He is a phenomenon if he is put in the right conditions, like in Barcelona. Otherwise he is struggling.

"But tell me: who helped him against Iceland? [Angel] Di Maria did not get past his opponent once, the midfielders did not support him."

Messi will be looking to bounce back when Argentina take on Croatia - who defeated Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday - at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Thursday.