Cyprus Mail
Copa America Football

Messi primed to end Argentina drought in Copa final

Lionel Messi is desperate to win Copa America
Bloom Yourself 300x250

Chile face Argentina in Sunday’s Copa America final for the right to call themselves South America‘s dominant team but perhaps an even bigger question for football fans the world over regards whether Lionel Messi can finally win a major international title.

The Barcelona forward has won every trophy possible with the Spanish club but he has lost three finals with Argentina, including in 2014 World Cup Final in 2014 and the Copa America last year.

300x250 Cyfield English2 Apartments

Sunday’s game against Chile in New Jersey gives Messi a chance to end both his personal hoodoo and that of Argentina, who have not won a major title since lifting the Copa America in Ecuador in 1993.

Telegram Cymail

“Getting to three finals in a row is impressive,” said Messi, whose first decider was a 3-0 loss to Brazil in the 2007 Copa America. “I hope we can win the Cup that we so desire.”

Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the final last year and Messi said the squad were better prepared this time around.

“You learn all the time,” said Messi, who turned 29 on Friday.

“We have been working together for another year, we are stronger as a group and we’ve really grown in a lot of ways.”

The five-times world player of the year has been outstanding at the Centenary Copa America, even though he played the first three games as a substitute after injuring his back in a warm-up game.

His sublime free kick in the 4-0 win over the United States took him on to 55 goals and above Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Messi called the performance against the US “perfect” and he will not have forgotten that Argentina beat Chile 2-1 in their opening match on June 6.

RED HOT CHILE

However, the Chileans have improved since, beating Bolivia and Panama before hammering Mexico 7-0 in what was undoubtedly the performance of the tournament.

Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who replaced Jorge Sampaoli in January, is now settled in the job and he has Chile playing the same high-paced pressing and super-fast counter attacks that make them such an exciting team to watch.

“This team has created an identity,” the Argentine-born Pizzi said after the semi-final.

“It’s a group of winners, I can see that just talking with them. That’s not because they win games because we don’t win every time but in their heads they are convinced they are going to win. That mentality allows them to grow stronger and gives them the confidence to keep going.”

Chile will have the dynamic Artur Vidal back after suspension and Pizzi hopes central midfielder Marcelo Diaz will recover from the muscle injury that kept him out the 2-0 win over Colombia in the semi-final.

They are on a high and confident that they will do the double over their neighbours.

But they will not have their home fans behind them this time and there is one other detail. The last time Messi played at the MetLife stadium was also in June and also against a SouthAmerican side.

Argentina beat Brazil 4-3 in a friendly in 2012. Messi scored a hat-trick.



Related posts

Barca overcome Juve as Morata has three goals disallowed

Reuters News Service

Rashford comes off bench to net hat-trick as United crush Leipzig

Reuters News Service

Kean at the double as PSG beat Basaksehir in Istanbul

Reuters News Service

Chelsea ease to Champions League win at Krasnodar

Reuters News Service

Ronaldo left out of Juve squad to face Barcelona

Reuters News Service

Lampard will not allow himself to be a flag-bearer for English managers

Press Association