Messi reaches yet another milestone


https://www.futbolmundial.com/ Lionel Messi scored his 109th international goal and first of the tournament, leading defending champion Argentina past Canada 2-0 on Tuesday night and into the Copa América final.

Julián Álvarez put the Albiceleste ahead in the 22nd minute and Messi deflected Enzo Fernández’s shot into the face of goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau in the 51st minute. Messi has 28 goals in his last 25 games with Argentina and 14 in the Copa América, three less than the record.

Lionel Messi scored his 109th international goal and first of the tournament

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Paris St Germain v Clermont – Parc de Princes, Paris, France – June 3, 2023 Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Only the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, with 130, has more international goals than Messi, who turned 37 on June 24. Iran’s Al Daei scored 108 or 109 between 1993 and 2006, with a lingering dispute over whether a goal against Ecuador in 2000 came in a full international match.

With a victory on its independence day, Argentina extended its unbeaten streak to 10 games. The Albiceleste will seek a record 16th Cup title when it plays either Uruguay or Colombia on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Florida.

By attempting to chain championships in consecutive Copa Américas around the 2022 World Cup championship, Argentina is trying to match Spain’s feat when La Roja won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships along with the 2010 World Cup.

Argentine fans gathered in Times Square on the eve of the game and filled the streets of Manhattan before heading to MetLife Stadium, site of the 2026 World Cup final. The crowd of 80,102 on a night with a temperature of 82 degrees and 82% humidity was overwhelmingly pro-Argentina, with only a few sections dominated by red-clad Canadian supporters.

 It was one of the biggest games in Canadian soccer, which went 0-6 in its only World Cup appearances in 1986 and 2022 and won its only major title in the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Argentina had beaten Canada 2-0 in the first match of the tournament on June 20.

Canadian star Alphonso Davies limped off after his right leg became caught in a clean challenge with Gonzalo Montiel and was replaced in the

Making his 38th Copa America appearance, Messi missed Argentina’s group stage final with a leg injury and was subdued while playing all 90 minutes in the quarterfinal victory over Ecuador.

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