Nigeria’s group opponent Argentina showed once again how reliant they are on Lionel Messi as the Barcelona forward scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 World Cup warm-up win over Haiti on Tuesday.
With Javier Mascherano making his 143rd appearance to put him one ahead of Javier Zanetti as Argentina’s most capped player, Messi got the opener from the penalty spot after 17 minutes.
He doubled their lead 12 minutes into the second half with a simple tap-in after the goalkeeper could only parry a header, scored Argentina’s third after 65 minutes, and then set up Sergio Aguero to make it four just two minutes later.
Argentina failed to add to their tally but should have been further ahead against Haiti, whose sole appearance at the World Cup finals came in 1974 and are ranked 108th in the world, 103 places below them in the world rankings.
Argentina now fly to Barcelona to prepare for World Cup matches against Iceland on 16 June, Croatia on 21 June and Nigeria on 26 June.