Messi-Lite Argentina Humbled By Spain

Shorn of talisman Lionel Messi, Argentina slumped to a crushing 6-1 defeat to Spain in their international friendly in Madrid.

The Argentina captain and his country’s all-time record goalscorer was forced to again miss out with a muscle problem and looked on as his team-mates were outclassed at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side, who were beaten 4-2 by Nigeria in their previous friendly, had defeated Italy 2-0 last Friday in Manchester, England.

Isco hit his first international hat-trick

But there was to be no repeat this time as Real Madrid midfielder Isco hit a hat-trick for the hosts. Diego Costa, Thiago and Iago Aspas were also on target for Spain, with Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi on target for the South Americans late in the first half, who were only 2-1 down at the break before their second-half capitulation – which was their joint-record biggest defeat.

The friendly was also notable for a moment of family history. Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso came on as a substitute to win his first cap, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, becoming only the seventh third-generation player to feature for their nation. The other players are:

Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Javier Hernandez (Mexico), Warren Feeney (Northern Ireland), Hazem Emam (Egypt), Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia) and Andre Schembri (Malta).

Spain face Switzerland and Tunisia in their pre-tournament World Cup games before meeting Portugal on 15 June. Argentina host Ukraine in their only friendly before taking on Iceland on 16 June.

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