Argentina beat Canada to reach final

Messi on target as Argentina beat Canada 2-0 to reach Copa America final

Reigning champions Argentina secured their spot in the Copa America final after goals from Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi led to a 2-0 victory over Canada in Tuesday’s semi-final held in New Jersey.

Argentina will compete against either Uruguay or Colombia in Sunday’s final in Florida, which could be the last opportunity for several veteran players, including Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Nicolas Otamendi, to win silverware.

“Let’s relish this moment as a national team, as a collective. Reaching another final and competing for the championship is no easy feat,” Messi told TyC Sports. “I’m savouring every moment, knowing, just as Fideo (Di Maria) and Ota (Otamendi) do, that these are our final challenges.”

Argentina have clinched a joint-record 15 Copa titles and have made it to the final six times in the last eight tournaments, but Canada posed significant issues in the first 20 minutes, with Jacob Shaffelburg missing two promising opportunities.

After absorbing early pressure, Argentina took the lead when Rodrigo De Paul passed to Alvarez, who slipped between two defenders and scored with a neat finish in the 22nd minute. Argentina, the 2022 World Cup champions and top-ranked team by FIFA, gradually established dominance. Messi had a chance to extend their lead in the 44th minute, creating space in the box with some deft footwork before hitting his shot wide.

Canada almost equalised against the run of play in first-half stoppage time when Jonathan David got ahead of his marker to reach a long throw, but his close-range effort was saved by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Despite having struggled with a muscle injury earlier in the tournament, Messi seemed rejuvenated on a hot and humid evening at MetLife Stadium.

He netted Argentina’s second goal in the 51st minute by stretching out a boot to redirect Enzo Fernandez’s shot from the edge of the area past Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

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The goal propelled Messi to joint fifth place in the all-time Copa America scoring rankings, tying him with Peru’s Paolo Guerrero and Chile’s Eduardo Vargas, each with 14 goals. His 109th goal for Argentina also saw him surpass Iran’s Ali Daei, securing second place on the all-time international scoring charts. Messi remains behind only Cristiano Ronaldo, who has netted 130 goals for Portugal.

Despite their two-goal lead, Argentina faced a tense end to the match as Canada substitute Tani Oluwaseyi challenged Martinez with a sharp shot in the 89th minute and then narrowly missed with a header a minute later.

For Canada, the defeat concluded an impressive run in which they outperformed expectations and surpassed their higher-ranked CONCACAF rivals Mexico and the United States, who are also co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup.

“They’re the best team in the world, but at the same time we had our chances at the start of the game,” midfielder Stephen Eustaquio told Canadian broadcaster TSN. “If we had converted one of our opportunities, the game would likely have unfolded differently. Reaching the last four of the Copa America is a significant accomplishment.”

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