Friday, July 19, 2024

Lionel Messi boost for Argentina ahead of Copa America semi-final against Canada

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Argentina received a major boost ahead of their Copa America semi-final clash against Canada as head coach Lionel Scaloni confirmed that captain Lionel Messi is fit to play despite hamstring injury concerns. After missing Argentina’s final group stage due to a thigh complaint, Messi returned to the field in their quarter-final triumph against Ecuador. He went on to play 90 minutes of their quarter-final clash. The game went to penalties after a 1-1 draw, and the Inter Miami forward made the headlines after missing his spot kick.

“99 per cent of the time, [Messi] is fit to play. It’s never happened to me that he’s not fit to play. Every time he’s come out on the pitch, he’s fit to play. For [Canada], he’s fit to play, without a doubt. It’s a very easy decision for me because it’s a very frank decision: if he’s fine, he plays, and if he’s not fine, he plays the last 30 minutes. It’s that easy,” Scaloni said in a pre-match press conference, as quoted from Goal.com.

Scaloni went on to acknowledge the contribution that Messi makes despite not being fully fit. He stated that he wouldn’t make the “grave mistake” of not putting him on the pitch knowing the difference that he can create for his team.

“When he’s fit, he always plays. There are no doubts. Who would have any doubts? I’m the coach, so I have no doubts. I’m the one who decides, and when I see that he’s fit to play, even if he’s not 100 per cent fit, he’s going to play. I take responsibility for that, but I have no doubts. It’s true that that won’t ever weigh on me. I know what he can give us even if he’s not in optimal condition, and I wouldn’t make the grave mistake of not putting him on the pitch knowing that he gives us a lot, so that’s indisputable,” he added.

Argentina are unbeaten in the tournament and are just two games away from defending their crown. Argentina will face Canada on Tuesday (local time) at MetLife Stadium. If La Albiceleste defeats Canada in the final four, the victory will mark their fourth final in five tournaments.

 

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