Messi after Copa América victory: 'We must continue to be patient'

Captain Lionel Messi praised the "patience" displayed by the Argentine national team in their 2-0 victory over Canada in their Copa América debut in Atlanta.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 03:17, 21 Jun 2024

Captain Lionel Messi highlighted the "patience" that the Argentine national football team showed to beat Canada 2-0 in their debut at the 48th edition of the Copa América in Atlanta.

"We have the patience to keep the ball and find the spaces," said Messi, pleased with the winning start of the trophy holders, who had not managed opening victories when they won the Copa América in 2021 and the World Cup in 2022.

The Argentine number 10 who played his record 35th game in a competition he is participating in for the seventh time made it clear that Argentina "already knew what Canada was capable of." "We already knew it was going to be difficult. It was a very tough, very physical game, and we had little space, especially in the first half," said Messi, adding that "it was very important to score early in the second half."

The leader of the Argentine team also mentioned that with more space, the South American team "played better" in the second half, which was also "complicated." "We must continue to be patient and control the games to take advantage of opportunities when they arise," he said, setting the tone for the upcoming matches against Chile on Tuesday and Peru on June 29.

For his part, forward Julián Álvarez, who scored the first goal of the match in the 49th minute, acknowledged that "it was important to win the first game." "We played a good game considering the pitch was not in the best condition. We got the three points, which was very important, as we worked for this all week. Now we will celebrate, rest, and think about the next matches," he said.

On the Canadian side, midfielder Stephen Eustáquio, who played the full 90 minutes, lamented the defeat but acknowledged the quality of the opposition. "It's very difficult to lose, but we faced a great team," he said, adding that Canada could also have scored: "We had our chances."

After a goalless first half, Julián Álvarez, in the 49th minute, and substitute Lautaro Martínez, in the 88th minute, scored the goals for the reigning world champions, who, under Lionel Scaloni's era, had never started a major competition with a win.

This victory marks an important psychological boost for Argentina as they seek to defend their title. The team displayed tactical discipline and adaptability, qualities that will be essential as the tournament progresses. The defense, marshaled by experienced players, remained resolute against Canadian counter-attacks, while the midfield worked tirelessly to regain control and create opportunities.

Messi's influence on the team continues to be pivotal. His vision and passing were instrumental in breaking down Canada's defensive setup, and his leadership on the field inspired confidence among his teammates. The Argentine captain's ability to dictate the tempo of the game ensured that Argentina maintained possession and pressured the Canadian defense throughout the match.

Julián Álvarez's goal was a result of sustained pressure and a well-timed run, showcasing his instincts as a forward. Lautaro Martínez's late goal provided a cushion and sealed the victory, reflecting Argentina's depth and the impact of their substitutes.

Looking ahead, the match against Chile will be another test of Argentina's credentials. Chile, known for their physical style and tactical organization, will present a different challenge. Maintaining the momentum and building on this solid start will be crucial for Argentina.

The squad's focus now shifts to recovery and preparation, with the coaching staff analyzing the performance and planning strategies for the upcoming fixtures. The Copa América is a long and demanding tournament, and Argentina will need to stay consistent and manage their squad effectively to navigate the challenges ahead.

As the tournament unfolds, fans and analysts will be closely watching how Argentina, under Messi's leadership and Scaloni's management, performs against the continent's best teams. This opening win sets a positive tone, but the path to retaining their title will require continued effort, tactical acumen, and perhaps a touch of Messi's magic.

Updated: 03:17, 21 Jun 2024