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Copa America opener win brings ‘calmness’ to Argentina, says Messi

Argentina star Lionel Messi says opening Copa America title defence with a win over Canada brings ‘calmness’ to the team.

Defending champions Argentina started the tournament with a 2-0 win against Canada in Atlanta on Thursday. Second-half goals from Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez secured the win for Albiceleste.

Messi, who turns 37 on Monday, said: “It [the win] gives you calmness because you suffer a lot when you start with a loss.

We had not experienced it [to start a tournament with a win] before under [Argentina coach Lionel] Scaloni.”

Messi became the new record-holder for appearances at the Copa America after making his 35th appearance for his country.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner also provided the assist for Martinez’s 88th-minute goal to extend his Copa America record for assists to 18.

From the beginning, this group proved it is a team and that is how we have achieved what we have achieved,” Messi said. “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 added. “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.

The majority of our rivals play differently against us, we need to maintain control.”

On Tuesday, Argentina will face Chile at the MetLife stadium in New Jersey. They complete their Copa group stage against Peru.

“Now we have to play against a very competitive national team [Chile], that with the arrival of [coach Ricardo] Gareca has gained more,” Messi said.

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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