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Isco nets hat-trick as Spain hit Argentina for six

Madrid, Wednesday @peoplesport11 Spain blew Argentina away on Tuesday night but coach Julen Lopetegui insists they can take nothing for granted at this summer’s World Cup.

A 6-1 demolition, which included an Isco hat-trick at the Wanda Metropolitano, underlined Spain’s credentials as one of the tournament favourites in Russia, while exposing Argentina, who were without the injured Lionel Messi.

Diego Costa was back in Spain’s starting line-up for the first time in eight international matches and he marked his return with the opening goal.

Isco then scored twice either side of what proved to be no more than a consolation from Argentina’s Nicolas Otamendi, before Thiago Alcantara, substitute Iago Aspas and Isco’s third completed the rout.

“I am very satisfied with a win against the finalists of the previous World Cup,” Lopetegui said. “It is an opponent that has a fantastic history, but nothing else, it does not change anything, we have to start the World Cup with zero points (in the group stage).”

As irresistable as Spain were going forward, Argentina were lamentable at the back and coach Jorge Sampaoli will have questions to answer with the World Cup less than three months away.

“I have to take responsibility,” Sampaoli said. He might cling to the hope of Messi, whose hamstring strain meant he was not even in the squad, instead left to watch on from the stands.

“Leo trained with us, he had a very good week of workouts but still had some discomfort in his leg,” Sampaoli said. Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria were also out injured but Argentina’s problem was less creating chances than containing Spain’s as Costa, Isco and Marco Asensio simply proved too quick to catch.

Asensio is likely still to give way to David Silva but Costa showed he is ready to be Spain’s main striker, this game completing his reintegration after an autumn disrupted by his Chelsea departure.

It was a harrowing night for Argentina but perhaps not a good one either for Alvaro Morata. Costa’s goal, coming before Aspas entered as a substitute to score one and set up two more, meant the Chelsea forward was hardly missed.-AFP

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