Argentina's Messi embraces team mates Di Maria and Aguero
Argentina's Messi embraces teammates di Maria and Aguero after scoring his team's second goal during their international friendly against Slovenia in Buenos AiresReuters

Lionel Messi and David Villa were on target as Argentina and Spain emerged victorious against Slovenia and El Salvador respectively on Saturday, while England were held to a goalless draw by Honduras.

Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella fielded a relatively weak starting XI as he chose to bench several stars including Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria in his side's final pre-World Cup friendly.

Inter Milan midfielder Ricardo Alvarez gave Argentina an early lead, when he found the net from the edge of the penalty area in the 12th minute.

Former Liverpool forward Maxi Rodriquez had a very good chance to find the net soon after as Barcelona's Javier Mascherano found him with a brilliant ball. Rodriquez beat the offside trap but failed to muster any power into his shot and the effort was easily gathered by Slovena goalkeeper Vid Belec.

Sabella introduced Messi, di Maria and Aguero in the second half and the star trio combined to score the second goal of the match in the 76th minute. Real Madrid winger di Maria found Aguero with a long pass and the Manchester City striker nodded the ball to Messi, who made no mistake in placing the ball past Belec.

Messi, who was happy with his side's performance, stated that Argentina are aiming to win the World Cup.

"We have a great group and team, a World Cup is very tough and we will have to fight a lot for it. 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," Messi told AFP.

Spain's Villa is congratulated by teammate Costa after he scored his side's second goal against El Salvador
Spain's Villa is congratulated by teammate Costa after he scored his side's second goal against El SalvadorReuters

Meanwhile, a David Villa brace helped Spain register a comfortable 2-0 victory over El Salvador in their final pre-World Cup friendly.

The former Barcelona striker broke the deadlock at the hour mark with a header into an empty net, before getting his second of the game in the 87th minute.

The defending champions could have had the lead in the 3rd minute itself when they were awarded a penalty after Diego Costa was fouled in the area. However, Cesc Fabregas smashed the spot kick over the crossbar.

However, the early penalty miss did not dampen Spain's spirits as they soon found the momentum. Xabi Alonso picked out Pedro with a brilliant through ball but the Barcelona man's chipped effort failed to beat El Salvador goalkeeper Derby Carillo.

Although Spain continued to dominate possession, they were only able to break the deadlock in the 60th minute, when Villa was able to tap the ball into an empty net after Carillo made a mistake and found himself in no man's land.

The MLS-bound striker then grabbed his second of the game in the 87th minute. David Silva swung a ball into the area and Villa collected the pass and calmly tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

Spain coach Vincient Del Bosque, who was pleased with his side's performance, acknowledged Villa in particular.

"We know that in small spaces he is one of the best strikers in the world," del Bosque pointed out.

However, the Spaniard admitted that El Salvador made things very difficult for his side.

"They were disciplined. Tactically they played well. They made it difficult for us to impose our will on the game."

England's Cahill heads the ball away from Honduras' Carlo Costly during an international friendly soccer match in Miami
England's Cahill heads the ball away from Honduras' Carlo Costly during their international friendly in MiamiReuters

Elsewhere, England struggled to break down Honduras' defence despite the Central American side being reduced to 10 men.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge had the best chances of the match, which encountered a half-an-hour delay midway through to the first half, due to thunder and lightning. Though Honduras defender Brayan Beckeles was sent off in the second half, the Three Lions were unable to find the winning goal, despite having a number of chances to do so.

England manager Roy Hodgson, who felt Honduras was very physical, admits that he was very frustrated with his side's inability to find a goal.

"They were quite physical. It was a real stop-start game, one of the most frustrating I've been involved in for a long time. We had a long stoppage, I thought we dealt with it and in the second half it was attack v defence," Hodgson told ITV Sport.

"They got their men behind the ball and we didn't take our chances. We attempted to make them but this is a game I will soon forget. I will take the draw and that we got away without injuries and that we have experience against Central American opposition."

In Saturday's other international friendly matches, Belgium beat 10-man Tunisia 1-0, courtesy of a goal by Dries Mertens.

While Hungary registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Kazakhstan, Nigeria succumbed to a 1-2 defeat against USA.