Messi's Final Push? Argentina Starts Copa America with a Win
Messi's Final Push? Argentina Starts Copa America with a Win

Lionel Messi continues his quest for international glory as Argentina begins the Copa America with a 2-0 win over Canada. Despite numerous club successes, Messi's major international triumphs only came in recent years, with victories in the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 World Cup. Now, at 37, Messi leads a talented Argentine team aiming for another Copa America title.

Argentina's opening match against Canada, held in Atlanta, saw Messi play a crucial role despite missing a few clear chances. He assisted in both goals, with his perfectly timed pass to Alexis Mac Allister setting up Julian Alvarez’s opener, and another controlled through ball leading to Lautaro Martinez’s goal. Reflecting on the match, Messi acknowledged the importance of starting the tournament with a win, especially after the team’s surprising loss to Saudi Arabia in their last World Cup opener.

The Argentine captain expressed that his team always strives to give their best, even if the performance isn't always perfect. "The important thing is that we started with a win," said Messi. "We'll always give our best, sometimes playing better, sometimes worse, but always fighting our hardest."

Football writer Diego Provenzano noted in Argentine daily Clarin, "When Lionel Messi gets going, everything looks easy." While there's speculation about Messi potentially playing in the 2026 World Cup, coach Lionel Scaloni encourages fans to focus on the present and enjoy watching Messi and veteran striker Angel Di Maria in action.

Argentina is favored to win the Copa America, especially with perennial rivals Brazil currently struggling. The tournament, hosted in the U.S., features 16 teams from across the Americas. Argentina’s next matches are against Chile and Peru in Group A.

Messi addressed comments from some, like French striker Kylian Mbappe, who suggested the Copa America is inferior to the European Championship. He highlighted that the Copa America includes teams with a combined 10 World Cup titles: Brazil (5), Argentina (3), and Uruguay (2). "There are a lot of world champions left out to say that it (the Euros) is the most difficult tournament," Messi remarked.

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