Roberto Pereyra made a second-half substitute appearance as Lionel Messi’s return for Argentina could not save them from a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Venezuela.

The Barcelona star had missed six internationals following a self-imposed exile following his country’s defeat to France in last summer’s World Cup, but it was to a be a disappointing return as their fellow South American opponents triumphed in the friendly in Madrid.

Pereyra replaced Giovani Lo Celso in the 78th minute, three minutes after Josef Martinez had completed the scoring with a penalty.

Newcastle United’s Salomon Rondon had given Venezuela a sixth-minute lead which was doubled shortly before half-time by Jhon Murillo, with Lautaro Martinez halving the deficit in the 59th minute.

It was a disappointing night also for Domingos Quina as Portugal Under-20s were beaten 1-0 in Germany in their Europe Elite League fixture.

The Hornets midfielder played 65 minutes before he made way for Gedson Fernandes.

Another Watford player to end on the losing side was goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg as Sweden Under-21s went down to a 2-0 friendly defeat at home to Russia.

However, former Watford youngster Jadon Sancho’s meteoric rise continued as he started a competitive fixture for England for the first time and helped them swat aside Czech Republic 5-0, giving Gareth Southgate’s men a fine start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

The Borussia Dortmund player, who left the Hornets for Manchester City in 2015, flourished in the game, providing the final ball of a 25-pass move that Raheem Sterling tapped home for the opening goal and the first of his hat-trick. A Harry Kane penalty and Tomas Kalas' own goal completed the win.