Argentina Faces Debutants Canada In Copa America Opener


Defending champions Argentina, led by legendary footballer Lionel Messi, kick off its Copa America Group A campaign against tournament debutants Canada on Thursday in Atlanta.

The Argentines, who won the tournament in 2021 and went on to hoist the 2022 World Cup, are no strangers to Copa America success. They reached the finals in 2015 and 2016 and finished third in 2019.

Messi, tied for seventh place in the tournament’s all-time scoring chart with 13 goals, also holds the record with 17 assists. On Thursday he will surpass Chile’s Sergio Livingstone record by playing in his 35th Copa America match.

Argentina, coached by Lionel Scaloni and featuring 21 players from their World Cup-winning squad, are tipped to make it to the final on July 14 in Miami, Florida. However, Messi insists they will not be complacent.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi in training ahead of Copa America clash against Canada.

“Today, we can say that we are the best because we are the world champions. But that does not make us believe that we are going to win this Copa America by walking,” Messi said.

This year’s tournament brings together 10 South American teams and six from North and Central America and the Caribbean, in the 48th edition of the tournament, hosted for the second time by the United States.

Holding the tournament’s all-time record with 34 top-three finishes and 128 match victories, Argentina are a formidable force.

Ranked number one in the FIFA world rankings, Argentina will face 49th-ranked Canada.

With newly appointed American coach Jesse Marsch, Canada are using the tournament as preparation for the 2026 World Cup which they will co-host with the US and Mexico.

Canada’s next match is against Peru on Tuesday, the same day Argentina face Chile. Both teams will wrap up their group games on June 29 with Canada taking on Chile and Argentina playing Peru.

Source Reuters

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