Copa America 2024 Semi-Final: Argentina vs Canada

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrating with teammates after scoring a goal during a Copa America 2024 match.

Lionel Messi Shines as Argentina Secures Spot in Copa America Final with a 2-0 Win Over Canada

In a thrilling semi-final clash at the Copa America 2024, Argentina showcased their dominance with a commanding 2-0 victory over Canada, securing their place in the final for the sixth time in the last eight editions. The match, held at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, saw the World Cup holders deliver a masterclass in football, led by their iconic captain, Lionel Messi.

First Half

The match began with Canada showing early promise, particularly through winger Jacob Shaffelburg, who created a couple of opportunities that tested Argentina’s defense. However, it was Argentina who struck first. In the 27th minute, Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez latched onto a precise pass from Atletico Madrid’s Rodrigo de Paul. Alvarez displayed remarkable composure as he slotted the ball past Canada’s goalkeeper, Maxime Crepeau, giving Argentina a 1-0 lead.

Canada, ranked 48th in the world, struggled to regain their footing after the goal. Despite their efforts, they found it challenging to penetrate Argentina’s well-organized defense. Their best chance came in first-half stoppage time when Lille striker Jonathan David fired a shot straight at Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez after receiving a long throw, but Martinez was equal to the task.

Second Half

The second half saw Argentina come out with renewed vigor. Six minutes in, Lionel Messi, the 37-year-old forward for Inter Miami, doubled Argentina’s lead. Messi deftly deflected an effort from Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez, leaving Crepeau with no chance. This goal further cemented Messi’s reputation as a game-changer and brought the home crowd to their feet.

Argentina continued to dominate possession and control the tempo of the game. Despite Canada’s attempts to break through, Argentina’s defense, marshaled by Nicolas Otamendi, remained resolute. Argentina’s tactical discipline and experience were evident as they expertly managed the game, denying Canada any clear-cut opportunities.

Post-Match Reactions

After the match, Lionel Messi spoke to TyC Sports, expressing his joy and appreciation for reaching another final. “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. He acknowledged the significance of the occasion, particularly for Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Otamendi, hinting at the possibility of their final battles with the national team.

Argentina’s head coach, Lionel Scaloni, praised the team’s performance and emphasized the importance of Messi and Di Maria’s presence. “For Leo, it’s similar to Angel. We have to let him be, and we will never be the ones to close the door. He can be with our team for as long as he wants to be,” Scaloni stated.

On the other side, Canada’s head coach, Jesse Marsch, expressed pride in his team’s efforts despite the loss. “What I said to the team afterward is, I know that they’re very disappointed, but I’m very proud of them. We’ve put together some incredible performances, just starting our process,” Marsch remarked. He also highlighted the need for Canada to expand their player pool as they prepare for future tournaments, including the 2026 World Cup, which they will co-host with Mexico and the USA.

Argentina will now prepare for the Copa America final, scheduled for Monday, July 15. In this final, they will face the winner of the Uruguay vs. Colombia semi-final. This final will be a significant event, marking Angel Di Maria’s final appearance for Argentina and potentially the last for Lionel Messi in the iconic blue and white jersey.

Canada, despite its exit, has surpassed expectations in its inaugural Copa America appearance. It will compete in the third-place play-off on Sunday, aiming to finish its campaign on a high note.

Stay linked for more updates and in-depth analysis as the Copa America 2024 concludes.