Lionel Messi close in on Diego Maradona's goal record for Argentina

Lionel Messi moved to within two goals of Diego Maradona in Argentina's all-time scoring list with his 32nd for his country as they beat Venezuela 3-0 in World Cup qualifying.

Messi, who stated his World Cup goal once again in midweek, is at the fulcrum of everything that is good about a dynamic team coached by Alejandro Sabella in which midfielders Javier Mascherano, Fernando Gago and Walter Montillo also shone.

Messi, who converted a penalty, is two goals short of the 34 Diego Maradona scored for Argentina, while Gonzalo Higuain's brace put him top of the South American scorers chart.

'Our forward line are among the best in the world,' said coach Alejandro Sabella.

Gabriel Batistuta is Argentina's record goalscorer, with Batigol's 56 strikes coming from 78 appearances. Hernan Crespo sits second with 35.

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