Hope, Not Expectation From Messi

Lionel Messi hit another hat-trick for Argentina in their World Cup warm-up victory over Haiti (Picture source Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Captain Lionel Messi is hoping Argentina can fulfil their dream in Russia as the countdown to the 2018 World Cup continues.

The Barcelona star hit a hat-trick – taking his tally to 64 for his country – as Argentina bade farewell to their nation ahead of the tournament with a 4-0 warm-up friendly victory over Haiti in Buenos Aires.

He also set up the other goal for Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who came off the bench on his comeback from injury against a Haiti side ranked 108 in the FIFA world rankings.

Argentina struggled through qualifying and – without Messi – were humbled 6-1 by Spain in their previous international friendly in March.

With questions over the quality of their defence, Argentina have been tipped by some to struggle to get out of their group, which also features Croatia, Nigeria and debutants Iceland, who they meet first in Moscow on 16 June.

Post-match Messi said: “The World Cup is the dream of us, of the country. We are not candidates but we are very good, training and improving. We have good players and we are getting stronger to fight as an equal with anyone.

“In a World Cup, logic is almost never given. We have to aim to win the first game, which is the most important because it will give us peace of mind. Let no one have doubts that we are going to try everything, as people always ask us.

“We are going with a great squad that is becoming strong at the team and individual level. We are facing a beautiful possibility and we are looking for that.”

Argentina face Israel in their final warm-up on 9 June.



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