Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with Sergio Aguero of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Argentina and South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Argentina Vs. Brazil: Fake Clasicos Are Still Clasicos

While the rest of the world play competitive matches, Argentina and Brazil will meet in a friendly in the United States.

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Argentina Vs. Brazil, Friendly: Argentina Wins Wild Match 4-3 Behind Messi Hat Trick

The first half of today's friendly between Brazil and Argentina was entertaining. The second half was amazing. Brazil answered back with two goals to retake the lead, but Argentina fought back with goals from Federico Fernandez and the hat trick clincher from Lionel Messi to win 4-3.

Everything was happening so fast, it was difficult to document every great chance we saw but trust me when I say it was some entertaining soccer. Hulk smashed his way through the Argentine defense but his tough angled shot was parried away by Sergio Romero. Gonzalo Higuain got past the last Brazilian defender but his shot from the right side went wide of the far post. It was wonderful stuff.

After 10 frantic minutes to open the half, it was Brazil who found the equalizer in the 56th minute. Oscar passed the ball in to the box to Leandro Damiao who immediately returned the ball to him with a great one touch pass as he charged in toward goal. Oscar was alone against Sergio Romero and beat the keeper with low shot to pull the match back to 2-2.

Brazil took the lead back in the 72nd minute. Neymar's corner was tipped by Romero, allowing it to fall down to Hulk who didn't wait for the ball to hit the ground, striking it out of the air and burying his shot to put Brazil up 3-2. You might say Hulk smashed it.

After spending all week saying over and over again that Sergio Aguero would not play in the match, Alejandro Sabella had the Manchester City star was up off the bench and in to the match. It worked quickly, even if Aguero wasn't directly involved.

Argentina earned a corner in the 75th minute, which was sent in to the mixer by Javier Mascherano. As the defense ball watched, young defender Federico Fernandez rose up and powered a header past Barbosa to even the match up at three goals a piece.

Of course you knew it wasn't over yet.

Brazil's defense forgot the first rule of playing Lionel Messi...don't forget to cover Lionel Messi. The man who outperforms all positive adjectives found some open space outside the Brazil box in the 85th minute and dribbled in to the middle of the pitch. As the defense scrambled to cover, Messi unleashed a wicked curling shot that squeezed in to the top corner of the net to complete his hat trick and more importantly, give Argentina back the lead 4-3. The precision was amazing, just the kind of play we've come to expect from Messi. Holy wow.

After 90 minutes of magical football, things ended on an ugly note as some unnecessary handbags saw Ezequiel Lavezzi, who had entered the match only minutes before, and Marcelo both sent off with straight red cards. Marcelo hit Lavezzi in the face as he went to ground and in the ensuing fracas, Lavezzi returned the favor.

The final whistle arrived shortly thereafter ending a spectacularly entertaining 90 minutes of soccer. Eat your hear out Euro 2012.


Argentina Vs. Brazil, Friendly: Messi's Brace Has Argentina Ahead 2-1 at Halftime

It was an entertaining and energetic first half in the Meadowlands between these two rivals. Romulo put Brazil ahead early, catching the Argentine defense sleeping, but it was two brilliant goals by Lionel Messi that allowed Argentina to head in to the locker room up 2-1.

The match opened with the field titled heavily towards Argentina's half, but La Albiceleste were able to even things out as the half progressed. Brazil still had the better chances though early in the half and had the better of the possession numbers too.

The opportunities finally paid off in the 23rd minute as Argentina was caught napping on a free kick. It wasn't a particularly flashy set piece, but the entire Argentine defense stood still as Romulo raced through the box, clearly expecting an offside call. Instead Romulo settled Neymar's free kick, turned a beat Sergio Romero with a low shot towards the far post.

Brazil was cruising along comfortably and after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Mexico last week, Mano Menezes was likely pleased with his team's play. Then everything went horribly wrong from Brazil.

In the 31st minute Argentina equalized out of nowhere. I know that phrase gets used a lot but trust me, it was out of nowhere. Gonzalo Higuain found Lionel Messi sprinting through the middle of the field and produced a perfect pass. Messi moved in one-on-one with goalkeeper Rafael Barbosa and buried his shot to tie things up 1-1.

Minute later Messi was back for more. Angel Di Maria was the maestro this time, finding Messi with a precise pass that once again allowed the magical striker to move in alone against Barbosa. This time, Messi got the keeper to commit off his line, before moving the ball outside and easily putting the ball in the empty net. Magical stuff from the best player in the world.

Brazil settled down a bit after the two quick goals. Neymar had a great chance right before halftime to pull Brazil back equal, but his shot was blocked by Romero.

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Argentina Vs. Brazil, Friendly: Lineups

The biggest friendly that really doesn't matter in the big scheme of things is getting ready to kickoff at the MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. Lots of big names in the starting lineups for both sides, so despite this not being a match that counts for anything, it should still be a great show.

Sure, the Euro 2012 is on. Yes, there's World Cup qualifiers as well. But this is Brazil vs. Argentina, and that's always a big deal. If you're in the United States, you can see the match live on GolTV.

Argentina: Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Federico Fernández, Ezequiel Garay, Clemente Rodriguez; Fernando Gago, Javier Mascherano, Jose Ernesto Sosa; Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín.

Brazil: Rafael Cabral; Rafael Silva Bruno Uvini, Juan Jesus, Marcelo, Alex Sandro; Rômulo, Oscar; Neymar, Leandro Damiao, Hulk.


Argentina Vs. Brazil, 2012 International Friendly: Fake Clasicos Are Still Clasicos

While the rest of the world play competitive matches, Argentina and Brazil will meet in a friendly in the United States.

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