World Cup winners suffer mauling at hands of Argentina

After their impressive past two years which has seen them pick up the European Championship and the World Cup, it would be hard to fathom Spain being 3-0 down to anyone at half time.

But goals from Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain inside 14 mintues, and a third from Carlos Tevez just after the half hour, put Argentina in control of a match that would end with Spain’s third defeat in 58 matches.

Without a fixture in their European Qualifying campaign, Vincent del Bosque’s side agreed to a friendly with the South Americans, a decision del Bosque may regret this morning.

There were five changes from the side that trounced Lichtenstein 4-0 last Friday, Iker Cassilas, Xavi, and Fernando Torres were among those rested, but a strong side including David Villa, Andreas Iniesta and Xabi Alonso struggled to compete with Argentina.

Since the departure of Diego Maradona as coach, Sergio Batista has presided over two wins against the Republic of Ireland and now the world champions and is favourite to get the job permanently.

Batista’s Argentina side didn’t have it all their way despite what the scoreline suggests, with Spain much improved in the second half and Fernando Llorent managed a consolation in the 84th minute before an injury time strike from Sergio Aguero completed the win for Argentina.

Despite the loss, Spain are 7/2 favourites to win the European Championships in 2012 but will have to come from behind to qualify after a 97th minute winner from Stephen McManus led Scotland to the top of Group I.

England are 8/1 to win in Poland and Ukraine in 2012. See the full UEFA European Championships betting market here.