Argentina announced on Monday that Lionel Messi will captain the team in a friendly against Australia in Beijing, followed by another game in Indonesia.
Argentina and Australia met in the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup and will play again on June 15 at the Workers’ Stadium in the Chinese capital.
Argentina won the World Cup after Messi scored in a 2-1 victory.
“On June 15, Lionel Messi will lead the Argentinian national team in a friendly against Australia in Beijing,” the South American country’s embassy in China said on the Twitter-like Weibo.
Separately, the national team also announced another friendly, against Indonesia in Jakarta on June 19, as part of a summer “Asia Tour”.
Football Australia CEO James Johnson stated that playing in China will strengthen relationships between the two countries after years of strained relations.
“Football is truly the global game and for Australia to be invited to play this match in China, and against the world number one, we hope this will open further opportunities for our two nations to work together both on and off the football field,” Johnson said.
“It’s been 15 years since our senior men’s national team played in China and we are truly excited to be returning to face Argentina at the newly renovated Workers’ Stadium in Beijing,” he added.
International sports have just recently resumed in China after the country abruptly abandoned rigorous virus controls late last year.