Lionel Messi was in inspiring form as Argentina thrashed the USA national team 4-0 to qualify for the Copa America Centenary Final.
Messi set up the first goal with a clever pass to Ezequiel Lavezzi in the third minute, scored the second goal on the exquisitely placed free kick later in the half and finally scooped up a loose ball in front of the goal in the 86th minute and fed it to Gonzalo Higuaín for Higuaín’s second score of the game and Argentina’s fourth.
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Messi’s goal was his 55th for his country, pushing him past Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s leading scorer, and he will have a chance to score more in this tournament.But it was not just Messi. Argentina, the winner of 14 Copa Américas and two World Cups, is loaded with talent and spent much of the night playing keep-away from the hustling Americans. Argentina completed 625 passes compared with 191 by the Americans, who did not have a single shot on goal.
On Sunday, Argentina will play the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal in Chicago between Colombia and Chile with the hope of winning its first major trophy in more than 20 years, since the 1993 Copa América.