Argentina continued their post-World Cup celebrations with a 7-0 friendly victory over Curaçao on Tuesday in another memorable night for Lionel Messi.
Putting Messi into a clinic in the first half, he scored a hat-trick to pass the 100-goal mark for Argentina, with both Nicolas Gonzalez and Enzo Fernandez netting before the break as defeat was well and truly in Santiago del Estero.
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It was the second consecutive match that Messi surpassed an important milestone in his illustrious career after he scored 800 goals for club and country in a 2-0 win over Panama on Thursday.
A scrappy Curacao side put up a fight for the first 20 minutes, but as soon as Messi scored his first goal, the gates opened and González headed in Argentina’s second from close range after scrambling past Eloy Rom’s goal.
The Paris Saint-Germain star soon scored his second and third for Argentina with a trademark, bending a shot from his left foot before setting up teammate Fernandez for a thunderous shot from distance to make it 4-0.
Minutes later, Messi was at it again, running a perfectly weighted ball over the top of the Curacao defense from Giovani Lo Celso and rolling his shot into a helpless room to complete a first-half hat-trick.
The hosts seemed satisfied with the match in the second half, but Argentina added to the score in the 78th minute with a penalty kick by Angel Di Maria and a shot from close range by Gonzalo Montiel.
The match was followed by tributes from the home crowd for Lionel Scaloni and the 2022 World Cup winners, who will regroup in June for another international break with an eye on the start of the South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup in September.
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