BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Maxi Rodriguez scored two goals and Argentina defeated Canada 5-0 on Monday in the Gauchos' final tuneup before their World Cup opener 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, is 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 yards on a hooking free kick from the left wing. He scored again in the 32nd on a counterattack after Higuain broke out of Canada's end and, as he was tackled, slipped a pass to Tevez. He found Rodriguez, who scored under goalkeeper Pat Onstad from 15 yards.
The third came when Tevez dug the ball out of the corner and fed back to Di Maria, who scored on a rising, left-footed shot from 25 yards.
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 off 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 onesided match added to the fiesta spirit for the sellout crowd of 60,000 at River Plate Stadium.