Argentina vs. Slovenia, 2014 World Cup friendlies: Final score 2-0, Albiceleste looking sharp

Dilip Vishwanat

Alejandro Sabella opted for experimentation and some rest for his stars against Slovenia, and that worked out just fine.

Argentina are headed to the World Cup in better form than any of their serious competitors to win the title. Coming off a thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago, Alejandro Sabella opted to rest his stars against tougher opposition -- Slovenia -- while also changing formations. The adjustments didn't hurt them one bit, and they were solid in a 2-0 win.

Ricardo Alvarez scored just 12 minutes into the game off a great individual effort, though he got some help from Ezequiel Lavezzi, who made an excellent run that drew defenders away from Alvarez before he received the ball. With space to run into, Alvarez surged forward, eventually placing a perfect low shot past Vid Belec from just under 25 yards.

Unfortunately for Argentina, they suffered an injury shortly afterwards. Lucas Biglia had to come out, with Hugo Campagnaro replacing him. That substitution moved Javier Mascherano from a sweeper position into midfield, with Jose Maria Basanta sliding inside to take Mascherano's place.

La Albiceleste continued to dominate throughout the first half and probably should've had a second goal before the break. Maxi Rodriguez had a good chance saved off a through ball by Mascherano in the 26th minute, then was denied by an even better stop off a long-range effort eight minutes later.

Argentina made wholesale changes in the 58th minute, introducing some of their stars for a half-hour run-out. Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Fernando Gago entered the game, replacing Maxi Rodriguez, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Ricky Alvarez and Augusto Fernandez.

Two of those players combined for the second Argentina goal, in the 76th minute. A chip into the box led to a familiar combination, with Aguero knocking down the ball for Messi to finish from close range, sealing the win.

Argentina: Romero, F. Fernandez, Mascherano (Mammana 77'), Balanta, Rojo, Biglia (Campagnaro 14'), Perez, A. Fernandez (Gago 58'), Rodriguez (Aguero 58'), Alvarez (Di Maria 58'), Lavezzi (Messi 58')

Goals: Alvarez (12'), Messi (76')

Slovenia: Belec, Cesar (Balazic 88'), Ilic (Samardzic 46'), Jokic, Brecko, Stevanovic (Mertelj 82'), Ilicic (Pecnik 46'), Kurtic, Rotman, Novakovic (Firer 88'), Kirm (Lazarevic 46')

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