Messi and Di María shine as Argentina rout UAE in final World Cup warmup

  • Angel Di María scores twice in 5-0 Abu Dhabi friendly victory
  • Scotland beaten 2-1 in Turkey, Füllkrug strikes in Germany win

Lionel Messi played the full 90 minutes and got on the scoresheet as Argentina beat the United Arab Emirates 5-0 in their final World Cup warmup match.

The Argentina captain scored their fourth goal just before the break as the pre-tournament favourites stretched their unbeaten run to 36 games. Messi also set up Manchester City’s Julián Álvarez to open the scoring in the 17th minute, and has now scored 10 goals in his past four international matches.

Ángel Di María also showed he is approaching peak form with two fine first-half goals in Abu Dhabi, superbly volleying home Marcos Acuña’s cross at the far post in the 25th minute. The Juventus winger, who has recovered from a thigh injury in time for Qatar, dribbled through the hosts’ defence 11 minutes later to score his second.

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The Internazionale forward Joaquín Correa then wrapped up the scoring on the hour mark, completing an impressive display from Lionel Scaloni’s team. The albiceleste start their World Cup campaign on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia.

In Group C, Argentina will also face Mexico and Poland, who beat Chile 1-0 in a friendly in Warsaw thanks to Krzysztof Piatek’s late winner. Wojciech Szczesny, Piotr Zielinski and Robert Lewandowski were all rested for the final game before Czeslaw Michniewicz’s squad flies out to Qatar.

Mexico suffered a 2-1 defeat to Sweden, but were boosted by the return of Raúl Jiménez after three months out. Sweden took the lead in Girona when Mattias Svanberg dribbled past several opponents and crossed for Marcus Rohden to score, but winger Alexis Vega equalised five minutes later for Mexico.

Wolves striker Jiménez came on in the second half as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, but could not help El Tri avoid defeat, with Svanberg beating goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 84th minute for the winner.

Scotland succumbed to their first defeat in five matches, losing 2-1 to Turkey in a friendly game between two sides who failed to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Defender Ozan Kabak headed in the opener for the home side five minutes before the break in Diyarbakir, having hit the crossbar earlier in the half. Cengiz Under doubled the hosts’ lead four minutes after the restart, nutmegging Scott McKenna before finishing confidently past Craig Gordon.

Ozan Kabak heads home from a free-kick to put Turkey in front.
Ozan Kabak heads home from a free-kick to put Turkey in front. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

John McGinn pulled a goal back for Scotland in the 61st minute with a powerful drive, but despite an improved second-half showing, Steve Clarke’s side could not complete the comeback. The 19-year-old Liverpool defender, Calvin Ramsay, notably made his Scotland debut off the bench.

“It [the goal] means a lot,” McGinn told BBC Radio Scotland. “I am just happy to help the team. The buildup to the World Cup has stung us, hurt us – the reality of that has kicked in and we will use that to drive us on to make sure we’re in Germany [for Euro 2024] and the USA after that.”

Niclas Füllkrug scored on his international debut to earn Germany a 1-0 victory over Oman in Muscat. The Werder Bremen forward struck from Kai Havertz’s pass with 10 minutes to go, boosting his hopes of starting Germany’s opening match against Japan on Wednesday.

Füllkrug’s goal rescued Germany after an unconvincing display against well-drilled opponents. The 17-year-old Dortmund winger Youssoufa Moukoko – Germany’s youngest debutant since Uwe Seeler in 1954 – hit the post in the first half, while defender Lukas Klostermann was replaced after 34 minutes due to an injury.

Andrej Kramaric’s late goal was enough for Croatia to beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Riyadh. Luka Modric played only the last 25 minutes, enough time to set up Kramaric for the winner. The 2018 World Cup finalists begin their Group F campaign against Morocco on Wednesday.

England’s opening Group B opponents, Iran, lost 2-0 to fellow qualifiers Tunisia in Tehran. Italy, the Euro 2020 champions who failed to qualify for this World Cup, beat Albania 3-1 with Freiburg’s Vincenzo Grifo on target twice in Tirana.


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