USA 0-4 Argentina Copa America 2016 RESULT: Lionel Messi inspires semi-final win over tournament hosts
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- Ezequiel Lavezzi fired Argentina ahead on three minutes with a neat header
- Lionel Messi made it 2-0 on 32 minutes with a 25-yard free-kick
- That strike made Messi him their outright all-time record goalscorer with 55
- Gonzalo Higuain finished from close range early on in the second half
- Higuain doubled his tally with a tap-in after great work by Messi late on
- USA: Guzan; Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson; Beckerman, Zusi, Bradley, Zardes; Wondolowski, Dempsey.
- Argentina: Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Rojo; Fernandez, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Higuain, Lavezzi.
- USA faced Argentina in the first Copa America semi-final on Tuesday night
- Argentina are bidding to end their 23-year major trophy drought
- CLICK HERE to read our match report from Houston as Argentina progress
A pitch-invader sprinted onto the surface and headed straight for Lionel Messi. Reaching the Argentine star, who became his country’s all-time top scorer here, he hit the deck and bowed down several times at his feet. He was the only man who got close to Messi all night, and he spoke for the stadium.
The No 10’s gravity-defying free-kick sent Argentina flying into the Copa America Centenario final, and Messi set up goals for Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain as well, pulling the strings as he closes in on the title which will make his legend undeniable.
The USA were forced into several changes by suspensions to key players Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya, who had started every game thus far, but it wasn’t the reason they were taken to pieces by Argentina. No – that was the distance in quality between the teams.
CLICK HERE to read Sportsmail’s Rik Sharma’s match report from the NRG Stadium.