Lionel Messi found himself on the scoresheet as Argentina once again underlined their World Cup credentials with a convincing 5-0 win over the UAE in a warm-up clash.
The Albiceleste come into the tournament on the back of a 35 game unbeaten run, and stretched that one further in comfortable fashion as goals from Messi, Angel di Maria, and Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez handed them a 4-0 lead heading into half-time.
But it was the PSG man’s goal that particularly caught the eye, with the talisman exchanging passes and finding the corner from the edge of the area with his weaker right foot.
Argentina added a fifth through Joachin Correa to complete the rout, and set them up well for their World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia on November 22nd. In a group also containing Mexico and Poland, they will be considered strong favourites to progress to the last 16, but how far can they go?
Messi backs England and Brazil to lift the trophy
Speaking to the official CONMBEBOL youtube channel earlier in the week, the Barcelona great was quizzed on his favourites for the World Cup, and revealed that England, along with current World Champions France and South American rivals Brazil, were ‘a little above the rest’ when it came to winning the tournament.
“The candidates are always the same. There are a few surprises but in general, the big teams are the candidates”, he began.
“Above the rest? Brazil, France, England. Today, they are a little above the rest but anything can happen.”
It means that he has played down the prospects of his own nation, who beat Italy in the UEFA finalissima earlier this year and are on a 35-game unbeaten streak, having also lifted the Copa America in 2021.