Argentina warmed up for the World Cup with a 5-0 hammering of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, as a brace from Angel Di Maria and goals from Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi and Joaquin Correa extended its unbeaten run to 36 games.
Roared on by the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium crowd, Argentina took the lead when Messi collected a pass from Di Maria and found himself with the goalkeeper to beat, but unselfishly set up Alvarez for his third international goal in the 17th minute.
Di Maria doubled Argentina’s lead eight minutes later with a superb volley, after Marcos Acuna crossed into the area from the left, as the twice World Cup winners found their groove ahead of the tournament, which starts in Qatar on Sunday.
The forward, who overcame a hamstring injury last month to be named in manager Lionel Scaloni’s World Cup squad, struck in the 36th as he dribbled past several UAE defenders and slotted home as Argentina put its opponent to the sword.
Messi joined in the fun a minute before halftime with a fine shot into the corner after a pass from Di Maria while substitute Correa completed the rout following the break with a deflected goal in the 60th minute.
Argentina, which will return to Qatar on Thursday, faces Saudi Arabia in its opener on November 22 before matches against Mexico and Poland in Group C.
Late Piatek goal earns Poland 1-0 win over Chile
A late goal by substitute Krzysztof Piatek secured Poland a 1-0 win over Chile in Warsaw on Wednesday as regular starters were rested for the last game before the squad travels to Qatar for the World Cup.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved a header by young defender Jakub Kiwior following a corner but substitute Piatek followed up with a timely tap-in from close range which bounced in off the post in the 85th minute.
Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz opted to leave out some of his stalwarts, including goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, playmaker Piotr Zielinski and striker Robert Lewandowski, with Arkadiusz Milik and Karol Swiderski starting up front.
Poland kicks off its World Cup campaign on November 22 against Mexico, followed by Group C games against Saudi Arabia and Argentina.