Argentina routs Canada in friendly
Maxi Rodriguez scored two goals and Argentina defeated Canada 5-0 on Monday in the Gauchos' final tuneup before their World Cup opener on June 12 against Nigeria.
Argentina's farewell match was played with FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi on the bench as coach Diego Maradona decided to rest the Barcelona playmaker after a grueling European season. Midfielder Javier Pastore started up front with Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain in a lineup that, except for Messi, was the one expected when Argentina opens the World Cup.
Rodriguez scored in the 16th and 32nd minutes and Angel Di Maria added another in the 37th. Tevez scored in the 63rd and Sergio Aguero added his in 71st, seconds after coming on as a substitute.
Argentina also faces Greece and South Korea in Group B matches in South Africa.
"There is no friendly match when you are wearing the Argentine uniform," Maradona said. "The guys showed we have a great team - and more. Argentines should relax, we have some tremendous players."
Two-time champion Argentina was superior from the opening whistle, building up slowly with long spells of possession, with Tevez generating several scoring chances with his nonstop running.
Rodriguez gave Argentina a 1-0 lead by scoring from 20 meters (yards) on a hooking free kick from the left wing. He scored again in the 32nd on a counterattack.
Higuain broke out of Canada's end and, as he was tackled, slipped a pass to Tevez who found Rodriguez who scored under goalkeeper Patrick Onstad from 15 meters (yards).
The third came when Tevez dug the ball out of the corner and fed it back to Di Maria, who scored on a rising, left-footed shot from 25 meters (yards).
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Rodriguez went off just seconds before the half following a hard tackle by Josh Simpson. He was diagnosed with a minor injury to his right ankle.
Tevez scored with a close-range shot from a pass from Higuain, while Aguero's goal was a left-footed shot from the left wing.
Monday was a holiday in Argentina with the nation celebrating its 200th anniversary. The one-sided match added to the fiesta spirit in a 60,000 sellout at River Plate stadium.
Argentina: Sergio Romero, Jonas Gutierrez, Nicolas Burdisso, Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Heinze (Clemente Rodriquez 59), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Juan Sebastian Veron 45), Javier Mascherano (Mario Bolatti 59) Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore (Ariel Garce 74), Gonzalo Higuain (Martin Palermo 68), Carlos Tevez (Sergio Aguero 70).
Canada: Patrick Onstad, Paul Staltieri, Richard Hastings (Adam Smith 79), Andre Hainault, Mike Klukowski, William Johnson (Pedro Pacheco 84), Nik Ledgerwood (Jaime Peters 55), Daniel Imhof, Dwayne De Rosario (Stephen Ademolu 87), Josh Simpson, Rob Friend (Simeon Jackson 65).
Referee: Victor Rivera (Peru).