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Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Canada in the semi-final on Tuesday.



CNN

Lionel Messi helped Argentina reach this year’s Copa América final after scoring in his country’s 2-0 semi-final win over Canada on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old scored early in the second half to double Argentina’s lead after Julián Álvarez had passed the ball The Albiceleste a lead in the first half.

That means Argentina has now reached the Copa América final in six of the previous eight tournaments, marking the second time in a row that the South American team has won the 2021 title.

“Let’s enjoy what we are experiencing as a national team, as a group. It is not easy to be in a final again, to fight again to be champions,” Messi told TyC Sports after the match, according to Reuters.

“I live it like I live everything lately: I enjoy it immensely and I am aware of it.”

Argentina will play Uruguay or Colombia in the final on Sunday. The final will be held at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Canada coach Jesse Marsch told reporters before the semi-final that he realized how difficult it would be to play Argentina, but his team started well against the reigning world champions.

However, Canadian winger Jacob Shaffelburg was disappointed with two missed chances in the early stages, as Argentine striker Álvarez opened the scoring with a controlled shot and goal in the 22nd minute.

The goal was a sign of the quality that Canada, ranked 48th in the world, could compete against.

Messi, who may have played his last Copa América for Argentina, then began to find his feet and came close to scoring twice before the end of the first half.

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Argentina will play Uruguay or Colombia in the final on Sunday.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner finally scored just before half-time when a shot from Enzo Fernández deflected off the Inter Miami forward and surprised Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau.

According to Opta, Canada is now the 38th team that Lionel Messi has scored against while playing for his country.

Although Canada did not reach the final, it impressed at this year’s tournament and showed promising signs for the upcoming 2026 World Cup, which it will co-host with Mexico and the US.

“(The tournament) went much better than we could have ever imagined,” Marsch told reporters after the match.

“There is still a lot of work to do, but we have laid a very good foundation and I am very optimistic about what the future can look like.”

Canada will now play the loser of the other semi-final in the third-place play-offs on Saturday.