Argentina Secures Copa America 2024 Quarterfinal Spot with Victory over Chile

Argentina is in the lead in Group A with six points. Canada is second with three, Chile and Peru are tied for one.

The ball bounced in front of the net after a wild scramble that resulted in the breakthrough, and Lionel Messi and the reigning champion Argentina moved to the Copa America quarterfinals after nearly ninety minutes of complete dominance.

Argentina Secures Copa America 2024 Quarterfinal Spot with Victory over Chile
At MetLife Stadium, Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez (22) celebrates scoring a goal against Chile in the second half. Photo Credit: (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

With one minute remaining in the game, Lautaro Martinez scored the final goal of a string of rebounds in the 88th minute, sending the Albiceleste past Chile 1-0 and guaranteed a trip to the quarterfinals.

“I was able to convert the ball that ended up right at me,” said Martinez, who also scored the second goal in the opening 2-0 victory over Canada last week.

Defensor Lisandro Martínez glanced back to head a corner ball that Messi headed toward goal, setting up the score. The ball landed where Nicolas Fernandez of Chile and Giovani Lo Celso of Argentina were wrestling in front of goalie Claudio Bravo. Lo Celso kicked the ball off Bravo, and Igor Lichnovsky of Chile tried to flick it wide after it rebounded.

Argentina’s 21st shot was expertly one-timed into the roof of the net by Lautaro Martinez, who entered in the 73rd. After three minutes, the players stood and waited for a video review to affirm Martínez’s 26th goal for his country.

“We were worthy winners. Lionel Scaloni, the Argentina coach, stated that the contest was difficult. “We pulled off a victory when nobody was expecting it.”

Group A is led by Argentina with six points, Chile and Peru with one apiece, and Canada with three. On Saturday, Canada takes on Chile in Orlando, Florida, while the Albiceleste wrap up their first-round match against Peru at Miami Gardens, Florida.

A day after turning 37, Messi often showed off his ability to twirl around and slalom past opponents in front of an enthralled sellout audience of 81,106 at MetLife Stadium, the location of the 2026 World Cup final. Argentina had a 22-3 shot advantage and an 11-0 advantage in corner kicks. It was not until the 72nd minute that Chile made its first attempt.

In the 36th minute, Messi went closest to scoring before Martinez did with a 30-yard attempt that shaved off Bravo’s left post. After Messi was kicked by Gabriel Suazo in the 24th, he was treated for over two minutes in the thigh region of his right leg.

Bravo deflected Nicolas Gonzalez’s attempt off the crossbar after Messi passed the ball again in the 62nd.

Argentina led Chile 17–0 until Emiliano Martínez stopped Rodrigo Echeverria’s strike in the 72nd minute after a turnover, as the ball had deflected off Alexis Mac Allister. Then, in the 76th, the goalie diverted another Echeverria shot off defender Cristian Romero’s toe with his right hand.

Also Read: Lionel Messi Leads Argentina to Historic Copa America Victory Over Brazil in 2021

“In every match, I have to save one or two. Martinez added, “And I’m fortunate to be able to keep doing it.

The teams met up again in the same arena, where Chile defeated Argentina in the 2016 Copa America final in penalty kicks, on the 46th anniversary of Argentina’s first World Cup victory. Messi announced his retirement from international competition following that loss, but he changed his mind seven weeks later.

The majority of the fans, at least 90% of them, had Messi’s name and number 10 on their Argentina shirts.

A grass field, planted behind one goal at a stadium where artificial turf is usually used, had a few little brown patches behind it. The building was planned to provide a broader field for the World Cup, but the surface was narrow.

Bravo made his 150th international appearance with eight saves, becoming him the oldest player in Copa America history at 41. As they led their sides onto the field for the national anthems, he and Messi, the former Barcelona teammates, conversed with one another.

Bravo remarked, “Losing this way leaves a bitter taste.” “We faced off against an incredible opponent.”

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