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Messi will play in his fifth Copa América final in seven appearances

The victory of Argentina by 2-0 over Canadaon Tuesday, in the semifinals, in East Rutherford (New Jersey), left the star Lionel Messi ready to play his fifth final in seven participations in the America Cup.

In his retrospective in the Conmebol national team tournament, the oldest in the world, the captain of the ‘Albiceleste’, world champion in 2022, will defend on Sunday, in Miami, the continental title won in Brazil-2021.

In his seven participations in the Copa América, Messi has been champion on one occasion so far and lost the finals in Venezuela-2007, Chile-2015 and the Centenario-2016, in the United States.

1. Venezuela-2007: 1st disappointment in its continental debut

Making his Copa América debut at just 20 years of age, Messi was part of the ‘Albiceleste’ led on the field by Juan Román Riquelme, Javier Mascherano, Roberto Ayala and Juan Sebastián Verón, among the most notable.

Argentina, coached by Alfio Basile, reached the final after winning Group A with victories over the United States (4-1), Colombia (4-2) and Paraguay (1-0). In the quarterfinals, they eliminated Peru (4-0) and beat Mexico 3-0 in the semifinals.

In the final against Brazil came the disappointment. The Brazilian team, which had Robinho, Julio Baptista and Maicon as its big names, beat Argentina 3-0 in Maracaibo, in a match in which Lionel Messi, who at that time was already shining in the world, could do little in the 90 minutes.

Messi left the Copa América with two goals scored, one against Peru and another against Mexico, the latter considered one of the most brilliant wearing the ‘albiceleste’ shirt due to his execution and technical quality.

2. Chile-2015: a hard blow after the sadness of the 2014 World Cup

Under the command of Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, Argentina sought joy at the 2015 Copa América in Chile, a year after the hard blow suffered when losing the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil to Germany.

The Albiceleste won Group C, drawing 2-2 with Paraguay in their opening match and beating Uruguay and Jamaica 1-0. Colombia were the victims in the quarter-finals, winning 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes. The Argentines faced Paraguay again in the semi-finals, but this time they thrashed the Albirroja 6-1.

In the final in Santiago, Chile claimed their first continental trophy thanks to the ‘Golden Generation’ by winning on penalties 4–1 after a 0–0 draw after 120 minutes. Messi was the only Argentine to convert his spot kick.

The ‘albiceleste’ captain left this edition with just one goal scored, also from a penalty in the 2-2 draw with Paraguay.

3. 2016 Centenary in the USA: Messi resigns from the ‘Albiceleste’

Chile once again crossed paths with Argentina in the final of the Copa América Centennial edition in the United States, with ‘La Roja’ winning their second continental title in a new penalty shootout, which they won 4-2 after another 0-0 draw in 120 minutes.

Messi missed his penalty and it was then that, dejected, he announced to the football world at the MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford (New Jersey), that he was leaving the ‘Albiceleste’.

“The national team has given up on me. It’s over. I fought hard. I tried. There are four finals and I haven’t managed to win them. I did everything I could and this is more painful for me than for anyone else, but of course it’s not for me. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me,” said the number 10 in the early hours of June 27, 2016.

Argentina, led by Martino, had a brilliant first phase with good victories over Chile (2-1), Panama (5-0) and Bolivia (3-0). They thrashed Venezuela (4-1) in the quarter-finals and crushed the host team (4-0) in the semi-finals.

Messi stood out in this Copa América with five goals – a hat-trick against Panama and a stunning free kick against the United States – as well as four assists, but the penalty he missed in the final tarnished his brilliant performance in the tournament.

4. Brazil-2021: Argentina and Messi champions of America

Amidst an overwhelming silence in the stadiums, with no spectators present due to the pandemic, Argentina was crowned champion of the 2021 Copa América after 28 years without titles, counting all the major competitions. And they did so in the Maracanã and against Brazil, their archrival, with a 1-0 victory, starting one of the most glorious phases of Argentine football, with Messi’s long-awaited first title with the main team.

Argentina, led by Lionel Scaloni, won Group A with victories over Uruguay (1-0), Paraguay (1-0), Bolivia (4-1) and a draw (1-1) with Chile in the opening match. In the quarterfinals they eliminated Ecuador (3-0) and, in the semifinals, beat Colombia in a penalty shootout 3-2, after a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.

Messi shared the top scorer spot in the 2021 Copa América with Colombian Luis Díaz with four goals and provided the most assists, with five.

Source: Gazetaesportiva

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