Madrid, Mar 28 (AP) With Lionel Messi rested, Argentina was crushed 6-1 by Spain today as Francisco “Isco” Alarcon led the way by scoring a hat trick.

Messi watched from the stands at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid as Spain dealt Argentina a humbling loss in the last match before their coaches pick their squads for this summer’s World Cup.

While Spain remained undefeated in 18 matches under Julen Lopetegui and strengthened its credentials as a favorite for the title in Russia, Jorge Sampaoli will face more doubts about Argentina’s chances to finally win a World Cup title with Messi.

Diego Costa, Thiago Alcantara and half-time substitute Iago Aspas also scored for Spain.

A minor leg problem kept Messi from playing in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Italy in Manchester, England, on Friday.

Sampaoli had said on Monday that his star player was better and that he expected him to play against Spain, but he left him out of his squad come match time. (AP) APA APA

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.