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Lionel Messi scripts major record as Argentina kick off their Copa America title defense with easy win

Playing in his record 35th Copa America game, Argentina skipper Lionel Messi failed to find the net against Canada but the world champions recorded a comfortable 2-0 win to kick off their title defence in the opening game in Atlanta.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Updated on: June 21, 2024 18:36 IST
Lionel Messi Copa America record
Image Source : GETTY Lionel Messi during the Argentina vs Canada Copa America game in Atalanta on June 20, 2024

Argentina football team kicked off their title defence with a comfortable 2-0 win over Canada at Atlanta's Mercedez-Benz Stadium on Thursday, June 20. The legendary Argentine skipper Lionel Messi failed to find the back of the next but scripted a major tournament record with his appearance.

Inter Miami forward broke the former Chile veteran Sergio Livingstone's record for most appearances in Copa America history as he played his 35th match against Canada. The FIFA World Cup winner is also four goals away from becoming the leading goalscorer in Copa America history having scored 13 goals so far. 

Argentina are chasing a record-breaking 16th title in the 48th edition of the tournament in the United States of America. Messi is probably leading the side for one last time and will target record silverware to end his international career in some style.

Meanwhile, the 36-year-old superstar received a rapturous welcome when he entered the field at Mercedez-Benz Stadium, a home ground for Atlanta United in the MLS. Messi was under the focus throughout 90 minutes as he missed two golden chances in the second half to score goals and created five big chances for his teammates. 

"The win gives you calmness because you suffer a lot when you start with a loss," Messi said after the win. "Better that we won. We had not experienced it [to start a tournament with a win] before under [Argentina coach Lionel] Scaloni.

"From the beginning, this group proved it is a team and that is how we have achieved what we have achieved. The only path to be able to achieve it again is to continue in this manner.  We knew it was going to be difficult," he said. "We expected a very hard and physical game. At times we find it difficult to find spaces but we need to keep at it. We have the patience to have the ball, to move it from side to side."

Messi and Argentina will be next seen in action against Chile in a crucial Group A fixture at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Tuesday, June 25. 

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