Lionel Messi scored another hattrick as Argentina battered Haiti 4-0 in a pre-tournament friendly in Buenos Aires.

The Argentinean forward broke the deadlock in the 17th minute with a well-struck penalty and further added another two to complete his hattrick in the 66th minute. Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero scored the final goal from a classic Messi assist as Argentina equaled their historic record of four goals against Haiti. After the match ended, Messi exclaimed that his team were excited and working hard for the upcoming World Cup.

“I have no doubt that we are going to grow, we have time, this team is going to take shape. We have been working hard on the physical, I think we have a nice opportunity to try again, we are going to be very excited, as always,” Messi said after the match.

The two-time world champions had struggled throughout the qualifying campaign but the thoroughly dominating display here should serve as a drastic boost to their morale, even though the win came against a side that has not qualified for the World Cup. Javier Mascherano joined Javier Zanetti as Argentina’s most capped player with 143 international appearances.

Sampaoli highlighted the enthusiasm of Messi and mentioned that he was training well with the squad. With his 3 goals, Messi took his international tally to 64 goals in 124 appearances.

The Argentina Coach was upbeat about his superstar, saying, “Messi is training very well, he finished the Spanish tournament and two days later he was here, he looks very enthusiastic”.

Argentina is in Group D along with Iceland, Croatia, and Nigeria. One of the more important matches would take place on the 21st of June this year between Argentina and Croatia, two of the strongest teams in the group as they lock horns at a World Cup for the first time since 1998 when Argentina edged to a 1-0 win. Lionel Messi going head to head against his Barcelona teammate, Ivan Rakitic will definitely prove to be one of the many intriguing subplots to what will be just the second meeting between the two nations on the global stage. The meeting could prove pivotal in deciding who qualifies and claims the top spot.

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