Argentina 2-0 Canada: Alvarez and Messi send La Albiceleste to Copa final

By Sports Desk July 09, 2024

Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi secured Argentina's passage to the Copa America final following a 2-0 victory over Canada at the MetLife Stadium. 

The defending champions weathered an early storm and took the lead through Alvarez's ninth international goal in the 22nd minute. 

Messi put the game beyond Canada's grasp early in the second half, turning home Enzo Fernandez's goal-bound effort from close range. 

Argentina will face the winner of tomorrow's semi-final clash between Uruguay and Colombia in Miami this weekend. 

Canada started immediately on the front foot, startling their opponents early on as Jacob Shaffelburg was presented with two opportunities, but unable to test Emiliano Martinez on both occasions. 

Largely a passenger in the opening 10 minutes, Messi was given his first sight of goal but could not find the target with his effort from outside the area. 

Despite La Albiceleste's lacklustre opening, a moment of individual quality sparked the contest into life. 

Rodrigo De Paul was allowed time deep in midfield, picking out the run of Alvarez before taking a touch and prodding the ball beyond Maxime Crepeau for his second goal of the tournament - his first also came against Canada in their opening group game. 

Argentina's grip tightened on the contest and they almost doubled their lead when an uncharacteristic mistake by Alphonso Davies was almost punished by Angel Di Maria, with Messi going close again before the interval. 

Lionel Scaloni's side would increase their lead six minutes into the second half, with Messi netting his 109th international goal after turning home inside the area, which was eventually given following a VAR review for offside.

Alvarez almost doubled his tally following an exquisite pass from Di Maria, only to see his effort repelled by Crepeau with the goal at his mercy. 

Canada's efforts in pulling a goal back were dented when captain Davies was forced off with an injury with 20 minutes remaining, but continued to push for a way back into the contest. 

Tani Oluwaseyi came the closest for Jesse Marsch's side, heading narrowly wide of Martinez's goal as Argentina saw out the triumph as they edge close to a record-breaking 16th Copa America title. 

Alvarez the man of the moment for Argentina

Alvarez has made a name for being a big game player for Manchester City, and that form has seemingly transpired to international level for Lionel Scaloni's side. 

His ninth international goal saw him become the fourth player to score in both the Copa America and World Cup semi-finals, alongside Messi, Romario and Diego Forlan. 

With Messi expected to call time on his international career following the conclusion of the tournament, Alvarez 

But the Argentina captain continued to showcase his class on the international stage, with Canada the 38th different opponent Messi has scored against while playing for La Albiceleste - his 21st different opposition in competitive outings. 

Canada's fairytale Copa run comes to an end

Having already faced Argentina in the group stages of the competition, Marsch was under no illusion about the size of the task in front of him and can be proud of his side's efforts against the defending Copa America chances. 

But again, their wastefulness in front of goal proved costly and, against the best teams, it is something you are unable to get away with. 

Having managed nine shots during the game, Canada mustered just two on target. Five of those efforts also came from inside the area and failed to trouble Martinez. 

While their tournament may be over, Marsch has solid foundations to build on for the future with the 2026 World Cup now the goal for Canada. 

Related items

  • CF Montreal v Toronto FC: Herdman promises changes for Canadian 'six-pointer' CF Montreal v Toronto FC: Herdman promises changes for Canadian 'six-pointer'

    John Herdman has pledged to work on Toronto FC's shortcomings ahead of Saturday's derby versus CF Montreal, which he has described as a "six-pointer".

    Toronto ended a miserable 10-game winless run by beating the Philadelphia Union 2-1 last weekend but were then brought crashing back to earth in midweek.

    An Inter Miami team without Lionel Messi or Sergio Busquets, and with Luis Suarez limited to a substitute role, beat the Reds 3-1 to leave them eighth in the Eastern Conference.

    Speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Quebec, Herdman said getting on the right side of the fine margins must be their focus, saying: "We'll fix some things. 

    "We'll fix our set-pieces and move forward. We've got to look, mentally, at how we stay stronger, collectively, tactically how we adjust to manage these tougher periods. 

    "We will own this together and next task is on to Montreal. We've got two days to get ready for Montreal. Massive game. Six-pointer. We'll get after it.

    Winger Derrick Etienne Jr., meanwhile, thinks the match comes at an ideal time.

    "It comes at the right time," he said. "We want to get back to winning ways and I don't think there is any better way than getting a win in the derby."

    Montreal are level on points with Toronto but are on the rise after a 1-0 win over Atlanta United and Wednesday's 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls, coming from behind twice in the latter game.

    Mathieu Choiniere put through his own net in midweek but has impressed this season amid speculation he could leave the club, and boss Laurent Courtois has moved to highlight his contribution.

    "He wants to give everything for his club, and I need Mathieu, not only for his versatility but also for the mentality and identity we want to have here," Courtois said. 

    "Now the player wants to get something to feel more valued, and at the end of the day we're all the same right? You just want to be valued for what you give, and he gives a lot."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    CF Montreal – Josef Martinez

    Martinez scored both of Montreal's goals off the bench on Wednesday, his 22nd multi-goal MLS match and his second as a substitute. 

    The striker's 22 multi-goal games are tied for third most in league history.

    Toronto FC – Federico Bernardeschi 

    Bernardeschi has scored six goals in five matches against Montreal, including a hat-trick in the rivals' last meeting. 

    Only Brian White (seven versus St. Louis City) has scored more goals against a single opponent in MLS since Bernardeschi joined the league in July 2022.

    MATCH PREDICTION – CF MONTREAL WIN

    Montreal have won five straight home matches against Toronto, the longest home winning streak by either team against the other in the history of the series (54 matches).

    They twice came from behind against the Red Bulls on Wednesday and have now lost just two of their last 11 matches (three wins, six draws). With home advantage on their side, they will be favourites.

    Indeed, Toronto are winless in their last eight away games (two draws, six losses), including losing their last five road matches in a row. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY 

    CF Montreal – 56.1%

    Toronto FC – 21.2%

    Draw – 22.7%

  • Morata joins Milan on four-year deal Morata joins Milan on four-year deal

    Milan have completed the signing of Spain captain Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid.

    The striker, who will wear the number seven shirt with the Rossoneri, has put pen to paper on a four-year deal at San Siro, with the option of an additional year.

    Morata is fresh from leading Spain to their record-breaking fourth European Championship triumph at Euro 2024, following a 2-1 victory over England in the final.

    The 31-year-old becomes Paulo Fonseca's first major signing since replacing Stefano Pioli in the Milan dugout.

    This will be Morata's second spell in Italy, having scored 59 goals in 185 appearances across two separate stints with Juventus, where he won successive Serie A titles in 2015 and 2016.

    He could make his debut when Milan host Torino in their opening match of the 2024-25 season on August 17.

  • Ten Hag concedes Man Utd have 'less depth' than Premier League rivals Ten Hag concedes Man Utd have 'less depth' than Premier League rivals

    Erik ten Hag feels Manchester United have less strength in depth compared "with other top clubs in the Premier League".

    The Dutchman's injury-hit side finished eighth in the Premier League last season; their lowest final position in the competition.

    However, the Red Devils did manage to secure European football for the 2024-25 campaign after beating rivals Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

    Ten Hag was heavily linked with a departure from Old Trafford, but recently extended his stay with the club until 2026, and he acknowledges United are still a work in progress.

    "Last season, we constantly had injuries to players in the same positions, all at the back. At one point, we had almost no defenders available," he told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

    "When we started here, United hadn't won a trophy for six years, and it really wasn't because they didn't have good managers here.

    "It does say something about the composition and quality of the player group. I knew that when I started, of course, but they were players with long-term contracts.

    "We were and still are in that process [of building]. If you compare our squad with other top clubs in the Premier League, we certainly have a bit less in terms of depth. That is exactly why we found it so difficult to deal with those injuries."

    Ten Hag also reflected on that FA Cup final against City, a game which was widely expected to spell the end for the Dutchman had United lost.

    But the 54-year-old is not concerned by his job security.

    "Let's face it: you lose too many matches, it just takes strength to keep the team focused and motivated every time," he added. "The players are disappointed, the people around you are disappointed.

    "There was so much going on at that stage, but I still firmly believed that we could win that final. The most important thing of all was to convey that belief to my team. I had to be careful that the entire environment did not become negative in advance.

    "If United's management find someone tomorrow who they think is better, then I'll go. It's that simple. Those are the mechanisms in football that you have to respect. At a club like this, it is crystal clear: if you don't win, you have a problem."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.