- Argentina played Curacao in a friendly match on Tuesday, March 28 2023 at Santiago del Estero
- The World champions continued their excellent form, thrashing Curacao 7-0
- Lionel Messi scored yet another hat-trick crossing the 100-goal mark for Argentina
Argentina defeated Curacao 7-0 in a friendly on Tuesday in Santiago del Estero, with Lionel Messi scoring his 100th international goal and completing his display with a first-half hat-trick.
Messi entered the game with 99 international goals but did not have to wait long to reach triple figures, scoring in the 20th minute in a lopsided match-up in which the world champions raced to a 5-0 half-time advantage.
The Argentine skipper played the entire 90 minutes, scoring three goals in 17 devastating first-half minutes and setting up Enzo Fernandez’s powerful strike among the flurry.
Messi was denied by Curacao goalkeeper Eloy Room’s sharp save after Lautaro Martinez’s glaring second-minute point-blank miss, but shortly after Giovani Lo Celso found him in space inside the box, setting him up to jink past two defenders and fire in a low right-foot shot for Argentina’s 100th goal.
Nicolas Gonzalez added a second in the 23rd minute, out-jumping Room to head home from a corner, before setting up Messi’s second in the 33rd minute with a deft left-foot finish.
Two minutes later, Messi held up the ball and dished out a deft pass for Fernandez to lash home, with the Paris Saint-Germain star wrapping up his hat-trick when he raced on to Lo Celso’s lofted pass and coolly converted after taking two touches.
Room brilliantly denied Martinez twice early in the second half, while Leandro Bacuna fizzed Curacao’s best chance over the bar from a 63rd-minute free-kick on the edge of the box.
Substitute Angel Di Maria added a sixth goal from the penalty spot in the 78th minute after Cuco Martina’s handball, with Gonzalo Montiel side-footing home another from Paulo Dybala’s cutback in the 88th minute.
Argentina get a happy homecoming
Argentina’s World Cup homecoming celebrations continued, following Thursday’s 2-0 win over Panama in Buenos Aires, with Messi taking centre stage with his latest feat in the country’s north.
It was the first time Argentina had scored seven or more goals since a 7-0 friendly win over Bolivia in September 2015.
Argentina’s captain Messi grabbed all the headlines, with his latest treble marking his ninth hat-trick for La Albiceleste.
Half of those hat-tricks have come against CONCACAF teams (Guatemala, Panama, Haiti and Curacao), with three against CONMEBOL nations (Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia) and two against UEFA teams (Switzerland and Estonia).
Despite being world champions, Argentina still needs to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, with their campaign commencing in September with games against Ecuador and Bolivia.