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SportsMessi leads Argentina to Copa America final

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Messi leads Argentina to Copa America final

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In a thrilling Copa America semi-final clash, Lionel Messi guided Argentina to a 2-0 victory over Canada, securing their place in the tournament’s final.

The 37-year-old forward, playing for Inter Miami, showcased his brilliance by scoring a crucial goal six minutes into the second half.

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Messi deflected a shot from Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez past Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, doubling Argentina’s lead after Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez had opened the scoring.

Alvarez’s goal came earlier in the match when he capitalized on a pass from Rodrigo de Paul of Atletico Madrid, slotting home from close range. This victory marks the sixth time in the last eight editions that Argentina, with their illustrious history of 15 Copa America titles, have reached the final.

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The upcoming final, scheduled against either Uruguay or Colombia, holds special significance as it will mark Angel di Maria’s final appearance for Argentina before his international retirement. There are also uncertainties looming over Messi’s future with the national team.

Reflecting on the achievement, Messi expressed joy and emphasized the team’s collective effort, stating, “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.”

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Argentina’s head coach, Lionel Scaloni, acknowledged the impending decisions of Messi and Di Maria regarding their international careers. “For Leo (Messi), it’s similar to Angel,” said Scaloni, indicating the team’s desire for both players to continue contributing if they choose to do so.

Despite Canada’s valiant efforts, led by MLS club Nashville winger Jacob Shaffelburg, who missed key chances early in the game, they were unable to break Argentina’s grip after Alvarez’s goal. Lille striker Jonathan David had a notable opportunity late in the first half, but his shot was saved by Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Canada, ranked 48th globally, exceeded expectations in their debut appearance at the Copa America. Coach Jesse Marsch expressed pride in his team’s performance, noting their progress and the lessons learned from the tournament.

Looking ahead, Canada, set to co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and the USA, will compete for third place against the losing team from the other semi-final. Marsch emphasized the importance of expanding Canada’s player pool in the years to come to sustain their competitive edge.

The semi-final between Uruguay and Colombia is scheduled for Thursday, July 11, with the Copa America final slated for Monday, July 15.

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