Messi leads Argentina into COPA America Final

Defending champions Argentina booked their place in the Copa America final after goals from Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi gave them a 2-0 win over Canada.

Argentina will face either Uruguay or Colombia in Sunday’s final in Florida, a match that could represent the last shot at silverware for several senior squad members including Messi, Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Otamendi.

“Let’s enjoy what we are experiencing as a national team, as a group. It is not easy to be in a final again, to compete again to be champions,” Messi said after Tuesday’s semifinal in New Jersey.

“I’m living it as I have been living everything lately: enjoying it very much and being aware, as it happens to Fideo (Di Maria) and Ota (Otamendi), that these are the last battles.”

Argentina have won a joint-record 15 Copa titles and reached the final six times in the past eight editions but Canada caused them real problems in the opening 20 minutes, Jacob Shaffelburg twice shooting wide from promising positions.

After soaking up the early pressure, though, Argentina went ahead when Rodrigo De Paul played through Alvarez, who ghosted in between two defenders to score with a tidy finish in the 22nd minute.

Argentina, 2022 World Cup winners and number one in FIFA’s rankings, gradually took control and Messi had a chance to double their lead in the 44th minute when he created space in the box with some silky footwork before lashing his effort wide.

Messi had struggled with a muscle injury earlier in the tournament but appeared revitalised on a hot and humid evening at the MetLife Stadium.



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