Copa America 2016: Lionel Messi inspires Argentina to an easy 4-0 win over hosts USA
- Argentina will now face either Colombia or Chile in the finals
Argentina booked their place in the Copa America 2016 finals thanks to a comfortable 4-0 victory over hosts USA. Goals from Lavezzi, Messi and a brace from Higuain settled the contest in the favour of the Albiceleste. Jurgen Klinsmann missed three of his regular first team players due to suspension while Argentina played Ezequiel Lavezzi in the starting line up in place of the injured Nicolas Gaitan.
Argentina started the game brightly and it took less than 3 minutes for the Albiceleste to score their opening goal. Predictably, it was Lionel Messi who was heavily involved in the opening goal. A short corner taken quickly by Lavezzi saw Messi free at the edge of the box and his brilliant lobbed pass found Lavezzi again who looped his header above Guzan to give Argentina the lead.
It was a beautiful goal and it seemed to really settle Argentina who dominated possession and hardly gave USA a sniff. Things turned from bad to worse for the hosts in the 32nd minute when Lionel Messi stepped in and curled a wonderful free-kick right into the top corner. The free-kick was absolutely stunning and it was a particularly significant one for Messi as it made him the record goalscorer for Argentina taking him past Gabriel Batistuta.
The first half ended with Argentina leading 2-0 having almost played USA off the park.
The second half started very much like the first half and it did not take Argentina too long to score their third of the night. Messi broke away from the USA midfield and found Higuain. Guzan did well to save the first shot but the Napoli star got the ball back, ran around Guzan and finished into an empty net.
USA were in real danger of being humiliated, but they played with some grit and determination and the introduction of the 17-year-old wonder kid Pulisic provided some bright moments for the hosts.
However, there was to be no consolation goal for USA and it was infact Higuain who scored a late goal thanks to another Lionel Messi assist. Argentina were absolutely brutal in their 4-0 demolition of the hosts, and they definitely look like a team on a mission in this edition of the Copa America.Published 22 Jun 2016, 07:48 IST