Argentina’s last World Cup warm-up saw Lionel Messi play the full match and score in a 5-0 thrashing of the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, extending the tournament favourites’ undefeated streak to 36 games.
After assisting Julián lvarez in the 17th minute to score the game’s first goal, Messi scored his team’s fourth goal shortly before halftime. Between those goals, two goals were scored by Angel di Maria.
At halfway, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni made four substitutions but decided against benching his top player, keeping Messi in the game for the entire 90 minutes.
The fifth goal for the visitors was scored just after the hour mark by Inter Milan striker Joaqun Correa.
On November 22, Argentina will face Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the World Cup. In Group C, it also competes against Mexico and Poland.
Earlier, Croatia defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Riyadh on the strength of a late goal from Andrej Kramari.
Luka Modri, a hero for Croatia, only played the final 25 minutes, but it was enough to set up Kramari for the game-winning goal in the 82nd. Before netting his 20th goal in international play inside the far post, Kramari still had to outwit five Saudi defenders.
Zlatko Dali, the coach of Croatia, started out with an unknown team before progressively introducing his veteran players. In the second half, Real Madrid’s Modri, Hoffenheim’s Kramari, Tottenham’s Ivan Peri, and Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovai all entered the game.
Hervé Renard, a French coach who led Saudi Arabia in the second half, made various adjustments as well. Group C’s opponents include Argentina, Mexico, and Poland, giving his squad a difficult assignment.
With Belgium, Canada, and Morocco, Croatia is a member of Group F.
While Poland met Chile in their final World Cup warm-up, Germany was playing in Oman later. Following that, there was a game between Mexico and Sweden at Gerona, Italy.