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Strong second half earns Argentina three points in Atlanta

Argentina took the first step in defending their title as they secured the win against Canada in the opener of the 2024 Copa América in Atlanta. 

70,564 fans were in attendance for the opening match to watch Lionel Messi and Argentina face off against Jesse Marsch’s Canada in their first appearance in the Copa America.  

Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half. Each team had seven shots, Canada did a good job of making Argentina's possession-oriented style difficult to execute. The champions started to find success with longer passes over the top as the half went on. Both teams had chances to take the lead, but it would be Argentina who broke the deadlock early in the second half.  

Julian Alvarez made it 1-0 for Argentina in the 49th minute when Argentina won the ball back on a throw-in which led to a long ball over the top for Di Maria. The play recycled and Alexis McAllister overhit a through ball from Messi, and caught Maxime Crépeau off is line which led to Alverez finding the back of the net. 

This was Alverez’s first goal at the CONMEBOL Copa America, and was the first goal scored in the 2024 tournament. 

Lionel Messi became the player with the most appearances in the history of the COPA America after he started in his 35th game played in the COPA. Messi had two 1v1 opportunities, but Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau came out and stopped the Argentinian captain from finding the net. 

“The big picture is that I thought we had a good performance, especially when we were able to execute our tactical plan. We made it very difficult for Argentina, and really could have had some goals," said head coach Jesse Marsch after Canada’s loss to Argentina. “I said to the team afterwards that we take this game, but we also take the three matches. It’s been unfair to them in some ways to be put in a situation to expect to have early success with a new manager and a new situation when we have to play these levels of opponents.”

In the 88th minute, Messi made a brilliant pass up to Lautaro Martinez who slotted the ball right between Crepeau to make it 2-0. The sequence culminating an amazing build-up from Argentina that saw the ball go through seven different players and from the defensive third to the goal in a little over ten seconds.

In Group A, Argentina is back in action Tuesday, June 25 as they face Chile at 9:00 p.m. Canada goes up against Peru Tuesday, June 25 at 9:00 p.m.

✍️ Madison Crews

📷 Sofia Cupertino

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