Argentina - Panama: summary, score, goals, highlights online, international friendly
Argentina 2-0 Panama: as it happened
Ths was far from the stroll in the park that many thought a post World Cup game would be as Argentina came up against a well disciplined Panama side.
From the initial euphoria, the World Cup champions dominated proceedings but struggled to break down a wall of red with Messi going close from a free as he shook the woodwork and Enzo Fernandez forcing a fine save from Guerra in the Panama goal.
The second half started in the same manner with the home side controlling the game but failing to generate sufficient creativity to break down the well drilled Central American side.
Just as it seemed that it was not going to be Argentina's night, Atlanta United striker Thiago Almada was alert to pounce onto a breaking ball in the six yard box to drive home and send the 80,000 fans at El Monumental into raptures.
The icing on the cake came in the 89th minute as Messi drilled home from a direct free kick leaving the Panamanian keeper with no chance and the party was complete.
The 'Muchachos' secured the win and the World Cup party goes on and moves to Santiago del Estero next Tuesday as Scaloni's men face Curaçao.
That's it... the whistle sounds and Argentina record a hard-fought 2-0 win.
Three minutes of added time confirmed
Messi finds the net with a majestic direct free
Argentina looking for the second of the night but Messi and Lautaro unable to finish a move.
Another free outside the box and, once again, this is the Messi zone !
Into the final five minutes of the contest.
0 shots on target from Panama tonight
Another Messi free but this is the poorest of the night as the PSG man clips over.
Argentina finally get their goal as the Atlanta United player latches onto a lose ball after a Messi effort strikes the woodwork.
That's six subs a piece from both teams
Murillo is off and is replaced by Camargo.
Lautaro gets his first chance of the night and the striker from Inter has his effort blocked.
Dybala gets clipped in the box and it looks like the ref points to the spot but play continues and the ball is wide for a goal kick.
Decent effort from Acuña but the player from Sevilla sees his effort deflected over the bar.
Starting to feel that no matter how long Argentina try tonight, the goal is just not going to materalise.
Twenty left as Acuña comes on for Tagliafico.
Casazola on for Galvan
Moran on for Guidiño (Panama)
and Fariña off for Bultron.
Fariñya Winter carded
Panama almost score as Stephens volleys over from a fine delivery.
The crowd have gone remarkably quiet too. Am sure this was not in the script with many thinking Panama would roll over for the 2022 World Cup winners.
Dybala on for di Maria as Paredes comes on for Enzo
We reach the hour mark and still no sign of Argentina finding the target. When the world champions do manage a shot on target, Guerra the keeper is up to the task.
Di Maria checked by Peralta and Argentina win another dangerous free just outside the box.
Messi territory once again.
Decent hit but once again Guerra tips over the bar.
Panama: Quintero swapped for Medina
Argentina win a dangerous free and of course Messi is primed to strike.
Ideal for the No. 10 as he forces another fine save from the Panama keeper.
Messi almost scores from the corner spot as Guerra is called upon to push over.
Otamendi off-Lisandro on
Panama changes: Browne on for Cordoba
Argentina: Almada on for MacAllister
The teams are back on the pitch.
Lautaro Martinez is on with Alvarez making way.
The Argentina party is slowly becoming unraveled as no-one bargained on such a solid display from the Panama 'B' team.
Despite not making any headway in a forward capacity the Central American side have been rock solid at the back.
The whistle sounds and it is 0-0 at the break.
Argentina are not having it easy and Panama are doing a fine job defensively.
Messi did strike the woodwork with Enzo forcing a fine save from the Panama stopper.
We'll have one minute of added time.
Argentina still looking for a way through and are meeting stern resistance from the Panama defence who are doing an admirable job at the back.
We've yet to see the men in red create any danger as Enzo strikes and Guerra tips over.
Argentina's final ball is their downfall tonight with the build-up play competent and solid. There are just too many Panama players behind the ball and tricky to pick that Panamanian lock.
Six changes are permitted per team in tonight's game. Would be surprised if Messi plays the entire game.
Di Maria shoots from distance but blazes the ball high into the stands at El Monumental.
The fervour has dipped ever so slightly as Panama are doing a commendable job at keeping Argentina at bay.
Argentina are back in action again next week as they face Curaçao in Santiago del Estero in the north of the country.
That game on Tuesday too is a total sell out at the smaller (30,000 capacity) Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades.
Not sure that PSG fans should be tuning in tonight as they will not want to see Messi playing with a spark that we've not seen in every game in a PSG shirt.
Twenty minutes gone as Argentina still look for that opening goal as the camera pans onto Messi's knee with plenty of blood visible after that horror challenge from Galvan.
Messi takes the free kick and the ball strikes the upright. What a hit from the PSG stiker.
A shocking challenge from the Panamanian wh led with his studs and that really could have ended badly.
As it is Messi is back on his feet.
Did Panama get the memo that this is a friendly game?
Galvan carded as he scythes down Messi. The No. 10 lies on the pitch in some distress.
Argentina creating all the danger now as Panama are pegged back behind the ball.
Corner for Panama as Molina is forced to clear the ball.
Martinez grabs and then looks to feed Alvarez but totally overhits the kick.
Messi shoots but drives the ball straight at Guerra.
Did the PSG man grimace as he struck the ball?
He seemed to get clipped by Panama defender Ramos.
Rodrigo de Paul almost latches on to a through ball from Di Maria.
Corner for Argentina. Messi takes but Panama avert the danger.
Off we go at El Monumental.
All set ... Argentina against a Panama side featuring many fringe players with the bulk of the regular starters staying in Panama ahead of the Nations League game.
The only player who is not here from the World Cup winning squad is Papu Gomez with Sevilla failing to release the (injured) player preferring that he stay in the Andalusian city and carry out his rehabilitation.
Poor old Dibu Martinez is in bits.... Tears streaming down his face with the emotion clearly affecting the Aston Villa stopper.
Argentina national anthem being sung by a tenor, acapella style, very powerful.
The Panama kits manufactured by Reebok !
Been some time since we've seen the old classic brand on a football shirt ...
Hope the Panama team can play better than they sing !
First up, the Panama national anthem
Blue and white smoke greets the team .... fireworks are let off and what a sight that is to see as Messi's children take to the pitch with the striker. 'Muchachos' rings out and the players seem visibly moved by the sights and sounds....
Dibu Martinez with tears in his eyes!
National anthems up next....
The Albiceleste in their iconic sky and white shirts, white shorts and socks. Panama in all red.
Argentina make their way to the pitch, led by captain Lionel Messi.
The Monumental is packed to the rafters as the players who are not involved at the start begin to make their towards the bench.
At present a pair of freestylers go through their reportoire.
Two arrested for selling fake tickets
With demand for tonight's game through the roof, it was sadly inevitable that the unscrupulous would try and capitalize on the event and so this proved to be with two individuals arrested for selling forged tickets close to the stadium.
A reminder of the team news for those who may just be joining us.
Argentina start with the same team that took to the pitch on 18 December in Lusail.
- 23Emiliano Martínez
- 26Nahuel Molina
- 13Cristian Romero
- 24Enzo Jeremias Fernandez
- 7De Paul
- 20Alexis Mac Allister
- 11Di María
- 9Julián Álvarez
- CoachLionel Scalonis
- 0Giovani Lo Celso
- 22Lautaro Martínez
- 21Paulo Dybala
- 1Franco Armani
- 18Guido Rodríguez
- 14Exequiel Palacios
- 16Thiago Almada
- 8Marcos Acuña
- 25Lisandro Martínez
- 2Juan Foyth
- 0J. Guerra
- 0Richard Peralta
- 0Iván Anderson
- 0K. Galvan
- 0Jiovany Ramos
- 0Irving Gudiño
- 0C. Quintero
- 0Ronaldo Córdoba
- 0Alfredo Stephens
- 0José Manuel Murillo
- CoachThomas Christiansens
- 0Ricardo Avila
- 0Miguel Camargo
- 0E. Dimas
- 0Omar Ezequiel Browne Zuniga
- 0Víctor Medina
- 0G. Hernández
Uruguayan match official Christian Ferreyra has been selected to oversee the clash at El Monumental.
This will be the 45-year-olds first time referring an Argentina game and he will be assisted by fellow countrymen Richard Trinidad & Carlos Barreiro.
Fan breaks in to Argentina dressing room
According to local Buenos Aires outlet TV C5N, a random supporter managed to break the strict security measures around the pitch area of the stadium ended up in the Argentina dressing room and requested a selfie with Leo Messi.
Apparently the fan had been hiding in a supply lorry and was arrested by local police as question marks are being asked about security protocols ahead of the game.
The players families now take to the pitch as the festivities continue. It will be interesting to see how the players make the emotional switch when the celebrations wind down and the game starts.
Still just over 30 minutes away from kick-off.
Argentina XI named
Argentina XI: Dibu Martínez; Tagliafico, Otamendi, Romero, Molina; Mac Allister, Enzo, De Paul; Messi, Julián Álvarez & Di María.
The same line-up who took to the pitch at the Lusail Stadium on 18 December to face France in the 2022 World Cup final .... the rest, as they saw is history.
Panama team confirmed
Jorge Dely Valdes (who is looking after Los Canaleros) tonight has chosen this XI to play against the World Champions at El Monumental.
Jiovany Ramos, who plays his club football in Venezuela takes the captains armband for the friendly clash.
Fever pitch in Buenos Aires
There has been a buzz about the city all day with almost everyone clad in sky and white as the Argentine fans await the opportunity to see their World Cup heroes at close quarters.
A fair deal of anticipation and let's hope that the team can deliver a performance against the Central Americans that the occasion deserves.
'Whoever doesn't jump is English'
A classic from the Argentine stadiums as the El Monumental crowd offer a rendition of the terrace favourite as Rodrigo de Paul watches on.
Argentina set to start with Lusail XI
It looks like Argentina are set to start with Lusail XI, that is to say the eleven players who took to the pitch on 18 December.
International Friendly - Argentina v Panama
It's been a non-stop party inside the Estadio Monumental with live music and a festive spirit as the fans celebrate the 2022 World Cup win again as kick-off looms.
In the two meetings between the Albiceleste and the Canaleros, Argentina have secured two wins with 0 draws or defeats for the South American side.
Tonight's friendly has been organized mainly as a celebration of sorts rather than for preparation for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers which get underway in September or the 2024 Copa America.
Panama on the other hand will use the game as ideal preparation ahead of their final Concacaf Nations League game as they take on Costa Rica next week and look to seal a place in the Final Four in Las Vegas as the Canaleros currently top Group B with seven points and remain unbeaten after three games.
Head coach for the night Dely Valdes who steps in for Thomas Christiansen, has, however, left many key players behind ahead of the Costa Rica clash, but those in action tonight have a great chance to stake a place in Tuesday's contest.
Despite being a friendly contest, demand for tickets at the stadium in Nuñez in Buenos Aires has been phenomenal with over 1 million applications for the 80,000 tickets with local fans anxious to see the World Cup winners at close quarters.
The action at River Plate Estadio El Monumental gets underway at 7:30 pm (ET) / 4:30 pm (PT)
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the friendly game as Lionel Scaloni's Argentina face FIFA ranked 61 Panama.