- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - Romania held Lionel Messi’s Argentina to a 0-0 draw in a friendly on Wednesday as the South Americans continued their preparations for the World Cup.

Argentina demonstrated its superior technical skills and kept up the pressure throughout a game watched by 47,000 people on a wet evening at the National Arena in Bucharest.

However, Romania proved tenacious in defense and was clearly determined not to lose against one of the pre-tournament favorites for the World Cup in Brazil.

Argentina’s best chance came in the 84th minute when Messi intercepted a ball in the box and passed to Angel Di Maria, whose shot was saved by goalkeeper Ciprian Tartarusanu.

Messi made a slow start to the match and appeared to vomit briefly onto the field in the seventh minute, shortly after taking a free kick.

Romania made a more promising start and midfielder Alex Maxim brought a sharp save from Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero in the 33rd minute with a close-range header. Three minutes later, Maxim slotted the ball into the Argentina net from six meters (yards) - only to have the strike ruled out for offside.

Argentina’s best chance of the first half was a shot from Sergio Aguero that was saved by Tatarusanu.

Romania played more cautiously in the second half, looking to hold on to a creditable draw. In the 66th minute, Gonzalo Higuain tried his luck with a left-foot shot from the side of the box but the ball flew wide and the home side managed to secure a clean sheet ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifiers later this year.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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