By DAN KARELL
Lionel Messi and Ricky Alvarez gave fans of the Argentine National Team the perfect send-off in a 2-0 victory against Slovenia on Saturday evening.
Playing their final World Cup tune-up match in La Plata, Argentina, Los Albicelestes comfortably took care of business against their European opponents. Alvarez, who is aiming for a starting role at the World Cup, drove past three defenders and fired a low strike in the 12th minute to give Argentina an early lead.
Messi finished off the result in the 76th minute on a beautiful combination play between he, Sergio Aguero, who headed the ball into Messi’s path, and Angel Di Maria, who found Aguero in space in the box.
Argentina had a couple of scares as midfielder Lucas Biglia and defender Javier Mascherano both had to go off with knocks, though it seems as though the injuries are not serious.
Here are some more notes from Saturday’s international action:
ENGLAND HELD TO DRAW VS. FEISTY HONDURAS
In a scoreless draw that was stopped and delayed due to the weather, both the England National Team and Honduras National Team are likely just happy to have left Miami unscathed.
England had a few chances to score including close-range chances from Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, the latter’s strike going just wide while the former’s shot being saved by Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Honduras right back Bryan Beckeles was sent off in the 66th minute after a dangerous mid-air challenge on Leighton Baines, earning the Honduran his second yellow card of the match. Following the game, England captain Steven Gerrard hit out at the “horrific” challenges made by Honduras players in the second half of the match.
LUKAKU LIMPS OFF AS BELGIUM BEAT TUNISIA
It took until the 89th minute for Belgium to break through Tunisia’s defense, but it was enough to secure the victory.
Belgium captain Vincent Kompany found Nacer Chadli between the lines in a late attack on goal. Chadli slipped through Dries Mertens and the substitute Napoli forward got past his defender and slotted home to give Belgium a 1-0 victory. The game finished on a sour note however as star forward Romelu Lukaku limped off with an ankle injury in second half stoppage time.
Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots has tried his best to allay fears that Lukaku would be the next big player to miss the World Cup, saying he thinks the 21-year-old will be back in training in just three or four days.
The match was also halted due to weather as the teams exited the pitch soon after a massive hail storm arrived over Brussels.
Cameroon topped Moldova, 1-0, in their final World Cup tune-up and then agreed with the Cameroonian FA to a deal based on World Cup bonuses after threats of striking prior to the tournament. (REPORT)
Nigerian defender Elderson Echiejile will miss the World Cup after suffering a muscle tear during Nigeria’s scoreless draw with Greece in Philadelphia. (REPORT)
England manager Roy Hodgson has determined that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will recover in time from a knee injury picked up in England’s friendly match against Ecuador. (REPORT)
Hungary defeated Kazakhstan in a friendly match, 3-0, with Maccabi Haifa forward Tamas Priskin scoring the game-winner. (REPORT)
What did you think of these results? Think Argentina is primed to make a run to the World Cup final? Do you believe England are ready for their World Cup opener against Italy? Do you see Lukaku playing in Belgium’s first match against Algeria?
Share your thoughts below.