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Argentina blanks Canada in Copa America opener

The reigning Copa America champions opened their defense by blanking Canada at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Argentina used a pair of second-half goals to earn an opening 2-0 Group A victory over Jesse Marsch’s squad. Julian Alvarez broke the deadlock four minutes after halftime before substitute Lautaro Martinez insured the win two minutes before stoppage time.

Lionel Messi was credited with one assist but had a hand in both goals.

Angel Di Maria came close to breaking the deadlock after only nine minutes, racing towards goal on a breakaway. However, Maxime Crepeau stood tall and kicked away the winger’s effort.

Alexis Mac Allister and Stephen Eustaquio traded offensive efforts before halftime but the teams went into the interval goal-less.

Alvarez would ultimately spring Argentina in front after both Messi and Mac Allister connected on the build-up play. Messi’s cutting pass allowed Mac Allister to slide possession into Alvarez’s path before the Manchester City forward slotted home.

It marked Alvarez’s first international goal since the 2022 FIFA World Cup semifinals.

Canada tried its best to hit back offensively but struggled to truly test Emiliano Martinez in net. Argentina would make them pay by icing the result before the final whistle.

Messi’s through-ball pass allowed Lautaro Martinez to slot home his first goal of the competition for a 2-0 lead that Argentina wouldn’t relinquish.

Argentina’s second group stage match comes on Tuesday against Chile while Canada plays Peru earlier that night. Marsch is still looking for his first win as Canada head coach.


  1. Curious what others think of all the Argentina complaints about the field? Even Canada complained it sounded like. Didn’t Atlanta play on the AG on the weekend? Could they have done something different instead? Lay the sod earlier? Just play the copa game on AG, or is that not allowed?

    • The Gold Cup last summer and Copa this summer, I suppose Club World Cup next year are supposed to be the tests for the venues to get the natural grass right for WC. It was pretty poor last year and wasn’t better Thursday. I would imagine it was in the bid that they would use grass or they wouldn’t have been picked to host matches.

  2. Canada wore down in the 2nd half and once Argentina scored a goal Canada was in deep trouble. When the game was even, Canada could wait until Argentina crossed the half line before pressing. After the goal, they had to extend their press and try to force the play or Argentina could have just passed the ball back and forth in their own half. That left more space in the Canadian half and opened gaps and channels. With Canadian fatigue then they started making a lot more mistakes and turnovers. Also, it seemed like some Canadian players were naive. They stayed on the ball too long and didn’t pass the ball quickly enough and that also contributed to their turnovers. It was like they weren’t prepared for the quickness of the Argentina players when they pressed. Not surprisingly Canada has some good players, but Argentina has a lot more and better players. In that respect, the outcome was not in doubt, only the size of the win. Canada should be a lot more competitive with Peru and Chile.

  3. I thought we were bad at finishing, but boy Canada was atrocious at it last night! Although Argentina dominated the run of play I thought Canada acquitted themselves well and could have sprung an upset(or at least made it interesting)had they scored a few goals that you have to put away at this level. The Canucks will have a chance to get out of their group if they continue to build on their past 2 performances(France and Argentina), but obviously that’ll involve them finding their scoring boots!

  4. A decent performance from Canada. They could have made it interesting with better finishing. Of course how often does Messi and DiMaria have 3 1on1s with the keeper and come up with no goals.

    • They at least rolled the dice and made it interesting. A couple times in that first half they looked like they might be pulling an insane upset but that high-line gamble finally did end up biting them. Even in the second half, I noticed a dangerous mismatch going on with Shaffelberg and Acuna – Shaffelberg was just too fast – his pace seems to constantly surprise everyone – and he was absolutely roasting Acuna, who started backing way up and was giving up far too much space as a result. Argentina probably should have given up two fouls in or right on the edge of the box…and that would have certainly changed the game.

      That was definitely a pretty typical frenetic Jesse Marsch game. His teams do entertain, anyhow.

      • I think the issue that Canada is going to face is depth. To play that style with the large gap in talent between the first 11 and the second 11 is toying with danger. I chuckled when there was a late set of subs and Canada subbed in Jonathan Osorio and Argentina subbed in Lautaro Martinez. Most times it’s not the X’s and O’s It’s the Jimmys and the Joes. MLS journeyman vs Serie A leading goal scorer by 8 goals. Hmmm, how’s that going to go. Canada’s top 6 or 7 players can play with anyone but they need the other guys to play above their level to compete with top teams. I did like moving Davies up to LW late.

      • (1) marsch’s high press stuff tends to work, if at all, first half. if he’s not up at half — and when i checked the score he wasn’t — i thought he was in for trouble in the second.
        (2) setting aside i detest this roll out sod crap, it plays incredible slow and will help a pass check up quicker and shorter. unless you have a pace advantage strikes me as ripe for throughballs on a high line. the sod itself helps with passing weight.

        compared to say, the much faster grass field italy was trying to play behind spain on. ball plays faster and deeper on the vertical pass, spain’s keeper runs out and snags it repeatedly.

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