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Football: Below par Messi and Argentina fail to impress

Published on Mar 6, 2014 6:02 AM
Argentina's Lionel Messi leaves the field at half time during their international friendly soccer match against Romania at the National Arena in Bucharest on March 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BUCHAREST (AFP) - Argentina didn't do their tag as World Cup contenders much good on Wednesday as they laboured to a 0-0 draw against Romania in a friendly which also saw Lionel Messi struggle with illness.

Argentina - who are grouped with Iran, debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina and African champions Nigeria in Brazil - were hindered by a clearly under the weather Messi, who played the whole of the match despite being physically sick seven minutes in.

Argentinian coach Alex Sabella started with pretty much his first choice side with Messi in the playmaking role while Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain were the strikeforce and other regulars such as Angel di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta also featured.

With Messi not at his best little of note was created in a first-half which saw few chances for either side.

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