Copa América
Can anyone challenge Lionel Messi, Argentina at Copa América 2024?
Copa América

Can anyone challenge Lionel Messi, Argentina at Copa América 2024?

Published Jun. 21, 2024 1:22 a.m. ET

Lionel Messi and reigning Copa América champions Argentina opened their 2024 campaign on Thursday with a 2-0 victory over Canada

Julián Álvarez had the first goal for Argentina in the 49th minute of the match after midfielder Alexis Mac Allister side-footed a pass to him before crashing into onrushing goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. Lautaro Martinez found the back of the net next after kicking the ball over a sliding defender in the 88th minute off of an assist from Messi. 

While the second half of the match was all Argentina, Canada kept the team scoreless in the first half and denied Messi's attempts on multiple occasions.

At the end of the day, the reigning champs controlled the tempo of the match, controlling 64% of the possession time.


On Thursday's edition of "FOX Soccer Now," Jimmy Conrad and Melissa Ortiz discussed Argentina's high-paced performance, wondering if there was any team in the tournament that could give the champs a run for their money.

"Obviously, we saw some vulnerabilities tonight," Conrad began. "There were moments where it didn't feel like they didn't get out of first or second gear, ultimately." 

"Canada did push them in different ways, and I thought they high-pressed them in a really positive way … But, I don't think Argentina will make those same mistakes," Conrad said.

Argentina vs. Canada Highlights | Copa América 2024

Ortiz agreed with her co-host that Canada did put unexpected pressure on Argentina. 

"Who would have thought that Canada would have been able to challenge Argentina in this way or form," Ortiz started before revealing she has Argentina going all the way in this tournament. 

"I actually have Argentina going against Colombia in the finals," Ortiz announced, to the surprise and delight of Conrad. "But, I do feel like there are a few teams that can challenge [them]." 

Ortiz believes Argentina's relentless effort is what sets them apart from other teams, but also feels the Colombia squad could match that energy in a final.

"Looking at how Argentina really were able to go and get a win against Canada … was just based off of their all-will-attack-fight to get this result. They never stopped. They never pumped the brakes at really any point of the game," she said.

"They [Colombia] also attack – very dynamic – like Argentina … I do think that, defensively … Colombia doesn't hold such a high line like Canada does or did … Colombia has these similarities in attacking components and dynamics that can, I think, threaten Argentina."

Argentina is seeking its third straight major title after winning the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup.

Next up, they'll face Chile on Tuesday at East Rutherford, New Jersey, then close the first round against Peru on June 29 at Miami Gardens, Florida. 

Colombia will begin its Copa América run on June 24 against Paraguay

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