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June 15, 2013
• Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, Ciudad de Guatemala
Referee: A. Castro
• Attendance: 23000
L. Messi 15', 40', 49'
A. Fernández 36'
Whoever was brave enough to stay up for this one, I salute you and hope the Messi show lived up to expectations. I've been Daniel Edwards, and it's been a pleasure.
And that's full time! An easy win for Argentina and a special night for Messi, just what the doctor ordered from this friendly.
90' + 1'
Two minutes of injury time to be played.
Montillo weaves through the defence, shapes up and appeared to be saved by Jerez, but the referee gives a goal kick. Not that it matters too much at this point!
The hosts almost finish with a flourish, as Aroche goes close with a shot palmed wide by Andujar.
After this match, Argentina have a rest from international until August, when Italy beckon. After that, Paraguay away in September as part of the World Cup qualifiers.
That is, apart from Lionel Messi's distinctly unfriendly treatment of the Guatemala defence. Merciless, Lio.
Just five minutes to go here, and I can't think of any injuries for added time. No real controversy either, it's been a friendly in every sense of the word.
Corner for Argentina, sub Montillo to take. He fails to pick out an Albiceleste shirt and it's well cleared.
Giron had the chance for a consolation there, the full back was picked out on the right and hit with the ball still bouncing, high and wide in the end.
A quick plug for the Confederations Cup as well, since this game is in the bag. I'll be covering all of Uruguay's movements as their Team Expert, starting with Sunday's mouthwatering test against Spain.
The last one, you cry? If we discount games played with the local Seleccion, which I do, you have to go back to that 1-0 defeat to Venezuela in October 2011.
STAT ATTACK: Assuming they do not let it slip somehow from here, and that seems fairly certain, Argentina will record their 17th consecutive match without defeat.
The Albiceleste continue to look for more in Guatemala City, they're not happy with 'just' four and continue to dominate possession here.
Lavezzi bamboozles his marker with some excellent close control, he's also enjoying himself this evening although he'll be desperate to make the scoresheet.
Wonderful play from Augusto, he robs the ball in midfield and releases Palacio with a great pass, continuing his run. Rodrigo tries to find the advancing midfielder, but his cross is cut out.
You've got to take into account the opposition, but still it has been very impressive stuff from Argentina's second-stringers. Very encouraging to see the squad depth in action.
They won't be seeing any more Messi though. The hat-trick hero is withdrawn to a standing ovation as Rodrigo Palacio enters.
The Guatemala crowd, to their credit, remain unbowed by their team's woes. Still plenty of noise around the stadium.
Meanwhile Mascherano has entered for Basanta, it appears that Sabella will try the Barca man in the middle of defence.
José María Basanta
What happened there???? Minor Lopez is clean through, the Argentine defence want offside but no flag is given. Suddenly, the forward falls over and Andujar recovers. That was a great chance.
Messi is picked out by a sumptuous ball over the top, but he has little space to move and Jerez covers.
That was your first goal Erik!!! Lamela is let loose by Messi on the left, sprints forward and hits just wide.
One of Guatemala's first shots on target, an effort from Leal across goal palmed wide by Andujar.
A proud day too for Erik Lamela, who entered at half time for El Kun for his full Argentina debut.
Just like the first half, Argentina have taken the chance to relax after that opening goal, passing the ball around with class and inviting Guatemala to come and get it.
Marlon Renato Sequen Suruy
Not only is he now above Maradona, but Lio draws level with Hernan Crespo as the Seleccion's second-highest scorer. First, of course, is the great Batistuta.
That's it then, 35 goals for Messi in the Albiceleste and he's overtaken El Diego. Three of the easiest he's had in all his career.
Assist Ezequiel Lavezzi
GOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!! Messi taps home in almost apologetic fashion following a cross from the right, that really was scandalous defending.
And we're back! Guatemala get us started 3-0 down, what can they do to retain a bit of dignity here at home?
That's half time, apparently blown 30 seconds before the 45 minutes were up by my watch. Oh well. Argentina well in control, 3-0 up.
Guatemala will be delighted to see the inside of the dressing room now, it's been a disastrous end to the half for the Central Americans.
Almost four!!! Argentina were cueing up to net there, but somehow Jerez and his defence threw themselves in the way to keep out the hungry forwards.
Penalty Goal Messi
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL MESSII!!!!!! All too easy, Messi was felled by Vasquez for that kick and he converted it himself, he's now level with Maradona.
Yes, a penalty for Argentina and you all know who will be taking it. Lio's up...
Off the post for El Kun!!!! A delightful pass from goalscorer Augusto sent Aguero free, but with an extremely tight angle his chip struck the woodwork. But what's this???
This is extremely easy for the Albiceleste, even with what is a second-string team for the most part. No danger at the back and just waltzing through the minutes, this could be a big score.
Goal Augusto Fernández
GOOOOOOOOOOOL ARGENTINA!!! Augusto Fernandez converts with a header from close range, 2-0 to the visitors.
Argentina building up an attack, Basanta for some reason was on the edge of the box but his cross was worthy of a centre-back, deflected for a corner.
If you have the answers to my questions, let me know at @DanEdwardsGoal on Twitter.
Any thoughts on the action so far from cyberspace? Do people still say cyberspace? Is anyone out there still awake???
STAT ATTACK: With that goal, Messi is only one away now from equalling Maradona's tally with the Seleccion.
Guatemala coming into this, switching play from one side to another and forcing Argentina to follow. Andujar yet to be tested though.
A searching cross from Contreras, just too long for his targets in the box and Andujar will restart. Really decent ball there.
Either the floodlights or the transmission is on the blink here, but this game is being played in an ominous darkness reminiscent of poorly-made horror films.
Augusto Fernandez almost lets Trujillo in there with a poor piece of control, but the midfielder recovers well to nick the ball back on the edge of the area.
The Albiceleste right now are playing like they're on a summer holiday, it's very relaxed stuff. A world away from that hurt locker they experienced in Quito, just ask Gino Peruzzi.
Fair to say that wasn't the start the Guatemalans were hoping for. They've contained Argentina well, but a moment of magic from Lio has put his side up.
Assist Ezequiel Lavezzi
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL MESSI!!!! A thunderbolt from the captain!!! Played in by Lavezzi, La Pulga releases a glorious effort from deep that gives Jerez no chance. 1-0 Argentina.
That was close from Messi!! In his first meaningful touch, the Barca wizard fires across goal and forces Jerez into action. This game is starting to pick up a tad.
That wasn't the cleanest of defending from the Albiceleste, but after the ball bobbles to ground Campagnaro steps up to clear.
Trujillo makes space down the right, plays off Basanta and it's a Guatemala corner. Heerenveen's Pappa to take...
A curious fact about tonight's host stadium, the lines around the centre-circle have been cut to form a sun. Which is nice.
Lavezzi tries to make amends with a ball over the top that is meant for Aguero, but Jerez reacts well and snaffles with comfort.
OOOOOOOH LAVEZZI!!!! The PSG striker has space on the left after a decent Kun ball, but under pressure his shot is spooned over.
The home team are starting this game with men behind the ball, Argentina are enjoying possession but so far haven't broken through.
Guatemala try and force play down the left, but they come up against the imposing Coloccini who shepherds out for a goal kick.
Now we're rolling! Two minutes in, still 0-0 thankfully and Argentina going forward.
I'm hearing the game has started, but the Argentine television station I'm watching on has a trouble with its feed. Bear with me, let's see if we can get this rolling.
Local time-keeping isn't up to much at the moment, five minutes after kick off and we're just getting round to the anthems.
After starting on the bench for the qualifiers, captain Lionel Messi will be starting tonight. No room for Erik Lamela though, which is a little disappointing.
And now for the Argentines, a new-look team: Andujar; Campagnaro, Coloccini, Basanta, Clemente; Fernandez, Biglia, Guinazu; Lavezzi, Messi, Aguero.
Guatemala's team will look something like this... Jerez; Giron, Enoc, Hernandez, Leal; Pappa, Leon, Trujillo, Contreras; Miranda, Campollo.
My name is Daniel Edwards, by the way, doing the late shift for all of you lovely people. Charmed.
Hello to all of you burning the midnight oil for this friendly clash, Guatemala will be kicking off against Argentina imminently and we'll be covering all the action. Stay tuned.
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