Despite starting on the bench (due to minor cold-like symptoms), Lionel Messi was the star of the show for Argentina as the South American giants secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Jamaica at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
Manchester City attacker Julian Alvarez replaced the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner in the starting line-up. The pacy forward wasted almost no time in making an impact as he grabbed the opening goal for Argentina with a well-taken finish in the 13th minute.
Lionel Scaloni's men dominated proceedings and controlled possession throughout the match, however it was only after Lionel Messi's introduction in the 56th minute that the game sparked into life.
The PSG superstar was at his best and dictated play with his intelligent movement, dribbling and passing skills. Argentina finally got their second goal in the 86th minute with Messi driving in a spectacular shot from outside the box after taking up a bouncing ball from Giovani Lo Celso.
It only got better for Argentina and Messi fans as just three minutes later, the No. 10 stepped up to score a brilliant freekick to make it 3-0. With this win, Argentina have now gone 35 games without a loss and are just two games away from Italy's 37 match unbeaten streak.
The South American giants are the most in-form team heading into Qatar this year and will be determined to go all the way in what could possibly be Messi's last World Cup.
Albiceleste defender Nicolas Tagliafico highlighted the importance of Messi to the Argentina team when speaking to reporters after the game:
"Leo Messi creates his own chances, makes the team play, with his presence the rival changes, that generates, and we are grateful to have him on our side."
Their biggest competition will probably be their continental rivals Brazil. Blessed with incredible attacking depth and with Neymar looking revitalized and in incredible form, a potential clash between Argentina and Brazil at the World Cup could be one for the ages.
For now, with Messi in sublime form for both club and country, Argentina fans will finally be hoping to end their World Cup heartache and emerge victorious at Qatar.
Best Tweets from Argentina 3-0 Jamaica as Lionel Messi grabs stunning brace
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