Argentina blitzes U.S. team to reach Copa final

By The Sports Xchange
Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10). Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI
Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10). Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

Gonzalo Higuain scored twice, Lionel Messi added his team-leading fifth goal and had two assists and Argentina routed the United States 4-0 in the Copa America semifinals on Tuesday night in Houston.

Ezequiel Lavezzi also had a goal and an assist to help the Argentines remain unbeaten at 5-0-0 in the tournament and reach their second consecutive final.


Lavezzi later left the match with an apparent arm injury after a scary fall over the signboards surrounding the pitch.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made three saves for the U.S. team, which suffered its second loss of the tournament and will play the loser of Wednesday's semifinal between Colombia and Chile in Saturday's third-place match. Argentina will play the winner the following day in New Jersey.

Seventeen-year-old Christian Pulisic played the entire second half for the United States, which can still top its previous best finish of fourth place in the tournament, achieved in 1995.

The United States was outshot 11-1 by Argentina.

Argentina took the lead only three minutes in when, after a short corner, Lavezzi passed to Messi outside the penalty area. Messi completed the give-and-go with a lofted pass that Lavezzi headed over Guzan from close range.


Messi made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute on a 23-yard free kick that he won after absorbing a foul from American Chris Wondolowski.

With the Americans setting up a defensive wall to guard the left side of the goal, Messi instead guided his effort into the top right corner beyond the reach of a wrong-footed Guzan.

Higuain scored his first goal five minutes after halftime when he finished a sequence set up by Lavezzi's long looping service from the left. He got his second 26 minutes later on Messi's feed after a U.S. giveaway in its own half.

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