Lionel Messi becomes second international goalscorer as he guides Argentina to Copa America final

July 10, 2024

On Tuesday night, Argentina, the reigning champion, defeated Canada 2-0 to advance to the Copa America final thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi, his 109th international goal and first of the competition.
The Albiceleste took the lead through a goal from Julian Alvarez in the 22nd minute, and in the 51st, Messi deflected an attempt from Enzo Fernandez past goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

Messi is three goals short of the record with 28 goals in his past 25 Argentinean games, including 14 in Copa America play.

With 130 goals, only Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal has scored more goals for his country than Messi, who turned 37 on June 24. Al Daei in Iran had 108 between 1993 and 2006.

On the eve of its independence, Argentina won, extending their winning run to ten games.

When the Albiceleste play Uruguay or Colombia on Sunday at Miami Gardens, Florida, they hope to win a record 16 Copa titles. Copa America Final

Argentina is attempting to emulate Spain’s record of winning the 2008 and 2012 European Championships in addition to the 2010 World Cup by stringing together titles in the Copa Americas around the 2022 World Cup.

The night before the game, supporters of Argentina flocked to Times Square and packed Manhattan’s streets before making their way to MetLife Stadium, home of the 2026 World Cup final. On an 82-degree night with 82% humidity, the 80,102-strong crowd was predominantly pro-Argentina, with the exception of a few sections dominated by red-clad Canadian supporters.

For Canadian football, who went winless in its two World Cup appearances (1986 and 2022) and claimed its lone major championship in the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, it was one of the biggest games of the year. In the first match of the competition on June 20, Argentina had defeated Canada 2-0.

Star player for Canada Alphonso Davies was removed in the 71st minute after he hobbled off after a clean challenge with Gonzalo Montiel caught his right leg.

Messi, who was playing in his 38th Copa America match, remained quiet during the 90-minute victory over Ecuador in the quarterfinals and had missed Argentina’s group stage match due to a leg injury.

He was just wide from the top of the penalty area in the 12th minute after exchanging passes with Angel Di Maria, then wide again in the 44th and put a chip over the crossbar in first-half injury time.

MetLife’s temporary grass surface appeared heavy, with water splashing and sand popping up during dribbles.

Argentina went ahead after Rodrigo De Paul from the centre circle played a long pass to Alvarez, who took a touch at the top of the arc to control the ball from Moise Bombito. Alvarez took another touch to create space from Bombito and from near the penalty spot, slipped the ball between the legs of Crepeau for his ninth goal in 35 international appearances.

Messi scored following a throw-in. He sent the ball to De Paul, who ran to the end line and cut the ball back. Kone’s attempted clearance went to Fernandez, who teed up a shot, that Messi redirected from just inside the 6-yard box.

Jonathan David was thwarted by Emiliano Martínez from close range in first-half stoppage time, and Martínez made a kick save on Tani Oluwaseyi in the 80th.