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Jun 7, 2014

Messi wraps up easy Argentina win

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Lionel Messi is congratulated after wrapping up Argentina's 2-0 win over Slovenia.

LA PLATA, Argentina -- Argentina easily beat Slovenia 2-0 in their last World Cup warm-up with goals from Ricardo Alvarez and Lionel Messi on Saturday.

Alvarez put a second-string Argentina ahead in the first half with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria came on in the second half and combined elegantly to double the lead in the 67th minute.

Aguero headed down a pass from Di Maria to set up Messi, who calmly slotted the ball past Slovenia goalkeeper Vid Belec.

Argentina, who are set to travel to Brazil on Monday, faces Bosnia-Herzegovina in their Group F opener on June 15.

"We are in good shape. We are a strong group, which is what we've been hoping to become from the start when (coach) Alejandro (Sabella) came in," Messi said.

Sabella took over the national team in 2011.

"Little by little, as we played well, we gained confidence," Messi said.

Slovenia didn't qualify for the World Cup and was no match for Argentina even in a sleepy first half, when Sabella rested his top players.

Belec saved the visitors from a bigger deficit, stopping two attempts by Maxi Rodriguez before halftime.

Slovenia's best chance came in the second half as Milivoje Novakovic spun around in the area and fired a shot straight at Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

The hosts were not seriously challenged after that and came close to making it 3-0 in overtime when Messi's free-kick went just wide.

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