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Lionel Messi thanks Argentina fans for support despite Spain thrashing

Lionel Messi thanks Argentina fans for support despite Spain thrashing 7:01 AM ET Sam Marsden Lionel Messi thanked Argentina supporters for ...

Lionel Messi thanks Argentina fans for support despite Spain thrashing

7:01 AM ET
  • Sam Marsden

Lionel Messi thanked Argentina supporters for backing the team ahead of the World Cup despite the country's 6-1 defeat against Spain in their last match.

Messi scored a hat trick and set up Sergio Aguero for the other goal as Argentina began their preparations for this summer's World Cup with a resounding 4-0 friendly win against Haiti on Tuesday.

The Barcelona forward was given a standing ovation when he was taken off in the second half and the fans inside La Bombonera in Buenos Aires rallied behind the team throughout the 90 minutes.

It was in stark contrast to recent matches played in Argentina, when Messi and his teammates were insulted as they laboured through qualifying, eventually booking their place in Russia in their final match.

"I want to thank the people that came," Messi said after the game. "Qualification [for the World Cup] was not easy but we made it.

"We felt the affection of all the supporters tonight, unlike at other times [when there have been insults]."

The loss against Spain in March and the struggles throughout qualifying have reduced expectations in Argentina.

Messi, who has now scored 64 international goals, admits that they are not among the favourites, but he says logic goes out the window at the World Cup.

"We're going to Russia for the same reason [to win the World Cup], it's everyone's dream, it's the country's dream," he added.

"We're not candidates [to win it] but we're doing well. We're training hard and we're improving every day. We have good players and we're getting stronger. We can go toe-to-toe with any team.

"At a World Cup, logic hardly ever prevails. We have to win the first game [against Iceland], that's the most imp ortant thing because it will calm things down.

"No one should doubt that we're going to give our all, as our supporters demand. We go to Russia with a great team which is getting stronger on a collective and an individual level. This is a beautiful opportunity and we're going to give it our all."

Argentina will travel to Barcelona later this week for a training camp before flying to Israel for their second and final friendly before the finals begin.

They then kick off their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16, before facing Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on June 26.

Source: Google News Argentina | Netizen 24 Argentina

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