Copa America 2024: Argentina begin defense with 2-0 over Canada

Copa America 2024: Argentina begin defense with 2-0 over CanadaCopa America 2024: Argentina begin defense with 2-0 over Canada

Argentina defended their Copa América championship with a 2-0 win over Canada on Thursday night in Atlanta, thanks to Lionel Messi‘s through play to Julián Álvarez in the 49th minute and Lautaro Martínez‘s goal in the 88th.

Argentina is aiming for its third major trophy in a row after winning the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup, and they kicked off at a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

With South America’s championship moving to the United States for the second time, Messi broke a Copa América record by appearing in 35 matches, one more than Chile’s Sergio Livingstone, who played from 1941 to 1953. Messi added to his personal record with his 18th assist.

Messi, who turns 37 on Monday, set up the first goal by heading a cross through the defence to Alexis MacAllister. The midfielder side-footed to Álvarez and collided with onrushing goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau approximately 8 yards out. Álvarez scored his eighth goal in 32 international games, kicking the ball over a sliding opponent.

Messi extended his Copa América record by passing to Martínez, who scored his 25th international goal.

Messi’s finest scoring chance came in the 65th minute, when Crépeau made a diving stop and Messi’s rebound effort was blocked by defender Derek Cornelius‘ head. Messi sent a chip wide after coming in alone on Crépeau in the 79th minute.

Despite being shook up by a sliding tackle from defender Moïse Bombito in the 82nd minute, the Inter Miami star continued to play the game.

Argentina faces Chile on Tuesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and finishes the first round against Peru on June 29 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Canada meets Peru on Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas, and will end the group stage against Chile on June 29 in Orlando, Florida.

The event, which begins on June 14 and culminates at Miami Gardens, is being held in fourteen different venues around the United States. Six Concacaf nations were added to the 10 South American teams, as was the case with the centenary Copa América in 2016.

Slow starts did not stop the Albiceleste from winning their last two titles. Argentina began the 2022 World Cup with a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia and the 2021 Copa América with a 1-1 draw with Chile.

Canada made their Copa América debut and played its first competitive encounter under new American coach Jesse Marsch, who was hired on May 13. The former Leeds and New York Red Bulls coach admitted that his team did its best against Messi but was unable to contain him throughout the game.

Following Saturday’s MLS game, grass was planted on the regular artificial turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Argentina started eight players in the 2022 World Cup final triumph against France, replacing Nicolás Otamendi, Nicolás Tagliafico, and Enzo Fernández with Lisandro Martínez, Marcos Acuña, and Leandro Paredes.

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