Argentina fielded a weakened team but still eased to a 2-0 win over Slovenia, before heading to Brazil for what many expect to be a strong challenge for the FIFA World Cup.

Ricardo Alvarez scored the first goal and Lionel Messi added the second off the bench as coach Alejandro Sabella chose to give breaks to a number of his leading stars. Sabella decided against starting with Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria and the decision did not cost him.

Alvarez quickly put Argentina ahead when, in the 11th minute, he scored from the edge of the penalty area. Maxi Rodriquez then had a chance with a long-range shot, before the same man hit the post.

Sabella made changes in the second half and sent on Messi, from which point the Barcelona man took control. He put in Real Madrid’s Di Maria who in turn crossed to Aguero. The Manchester City striker flicked a header to Messi and he wrapped things up.

“We have a great group and team, a World Cup is very tough and we will have to fight a lot for it,” Messi said. “We arrive with the right age, with most of us playing in the best leagues of Europe for years. Winning it is our target, but it will be very hard.”