Argentina coach Maradona held his first training session with his 2010 FIFA World Cup™ squad on Thursday, and said he had high hopes for the June 11 - July 11 tournament in South Africa.

"Our World Cup starts today because we start work with 17 players. We have high hopes," said Maradona, who led Argentina to FIFA World Cup glory in 1986.

Maradona was without five players for his first trip onto the paddock with his South Africa-bound squad. Sergio Aguero played in Wednesday's Spanish Cup final for his club Atletico Madrid, while Inter Milan duo Walter Samuel and Diego Milito, and Bayern Munich's Martin Demichelis are all in Madrid ahead of Saturday's UEFA Champions League final. Clemente Rodriguez and Juan Sebastian Veron were to play for Estudiantes later today.

Two-time champions Argentina were drawn alongside Nigeria, UEFA EURO 2004 champions Greece and 2002 semi-finalists South Korea in Group B and begin their campaign against the African side on 12 June.