Copa America 2019: Venezuela 0-2 Argentina - 3 talking points
The second quarterfinal fixture of the ongoing Copa America took place at the Estadio Maracana as Argentina battled it out with Venezuela for a spot in the semifinals.
Lionel Scaloni's men booked their spot in this round courtesy their second-placed finish in Group B, while Venezuela also finished as runners up to Brazil in group A.
In front of a crowd of just over 42,000 spectators, Argentina scaled through, putting in a fine display in a 2-0 victory with goals from Lautaro Martinez and Giovanni Lo Celso setting up a semi-final clash with host Brazil.
In this piece, we shall be highlighting three talking points from the match.
#1 Lionel Messi is yet to pull his weight
Heading into this tournament, much was made of the fact that at 32, Lionel Messi is yet to taste glory on the international scene with Argentina, having lost four finals and this goes in stark contrast with his trophy haul at Barcelona where he has won every title winnable.
To make matters worse, just before the start of the competition, Lionel Messi's eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo had captained his nation to the maiden edition of the UEFA Nations League which was the second major international trophy he had won in the last three years.
Argentina's form heading into this tournament was far from ideal and the hotchpotch nature of the squad coupled with the inexperience of head coach Lionel Scaloni meant that not much was expected from Los Albiceleste and their hopes rested squarely on the shoulders of their number 10.
However, four matches in and the all-time Argentine record goalscorer is yet to come to the party and has largely struggled to stamp his authority on matches.
Till date, his only contribution has been scoring from the penalty spot to snatch an equalizer in the second group stage match against Paraguay while he went his first two matches in the tournament without creating a chance.
Lionel Messi is arguably the most decisive player in the history of the game and as such, it would be foolhardy to write him off just yet, as the 32-year-old still possesses the key to unlock any defense in the world.
With Argentina having made it as far as the last four, they would be counting on their talisman to step up to the plate in the crunch stages and while Messi has not come to the party yet, it might very well be a case of better late than never for him.