International friendlies: Lionel Messi warms up for World Cup by scoring hat-trick as Argentina beat Haiti
Lionel Messi got the opener from the penalty spot after 17 minutes. He doubled their lead 12 minutes into the second half with a simple tap-in after the goalkeeper could only parry a header, scored Argentina’s third after 65 minutes.
Buenos Aires: Argentina showed once again how reliant they are on Lionel Messi as the Barcelona forward scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 World Cup warm-up win over Haiti on Tuesday.
With Javier Mascherano making his 143rd appearance to put him one ahead of Javier Zanetti as Argentina’s most capped player, Messi got the opener from the penalty spot after 17 minutes.
He doubled their lead 12 minutes into the second half with a simple tap-in after the goalkeeper could only parry a header, scored Argentina’s third after 65 minutes, and then set up Sergio Aguero to make it four just two minutes later.
Argentina failed to add to their tally but should have been further ahead against Haiti, whose sole appearance at the World Cup finals came in 1974 and are ranked 108th in the world, 103 places below them in the world rankings.
“More than the result we were able to say goodbye to our fans and show that we are going to Russia with hope,” Messi said.
“We’re not going as favourites because we had a complicated time in the qualifiers, but we are training well and we will give it our all.”
Aguero was fit again after a knee injury but began the game on the bench, with Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria starting up front alongside Messi.
However, both men failed to shine and instead it was Aguero and Boca Juniors’ Christian Pavon who staked their claim for a World Cup place when they came on after an hour.
Argentina now fly to Barcelona to prepare for World Cup matches against Iceland on 16 June, Croatia on 21 June and Nigeria on 26 June.
Rodrygo snatched victory for Real as he flicked in with a minute to play in Milan, stunning Inter who had dominated much of the game and forced Thibaut Courtois into several saves.
Pochettino now looks set to unleash Lionel Messi, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, from the start at the Jan Breydel Stadium against Club Brugge in the Group A opener.
PSG, backed by Qatar Sports Investment since 2011, reached the Champions League semi-finals last season and the final the year before that, but have never won the title.