Argentina Kicks Off Copa America with Dominant Win Over Canada

Messi and company start strong with a positive result in Atlanta despite a stellar performance from Canadian goalkeeper Maxime.
ECanalla (talk) (Uploads), CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
ECanalla (talk) (Uploads), CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Today, June 20, is a date that will go down in American sports history as today the Copa America 2024 kicked off.

The prestigious and historical continental competition that first took place in 1916 will be taking place on American soil for the second time, the first being in 2016 when the USA hosted the special hundredth edition of the competition.

The game that kicked off the tournament was a very exciting clash between two very strong teams, Argentina and Canada.

The match, played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, was the only Copa America game of the day. More Copa America action will occur tomorrow with Peru taking on Chile.

Argentina came into the match as favorites to win. The three-time world champions had more than enough reasons for their favoritism, with “La Albiceleste,” as they are called, being not only the current Copa America champions but also the current World Cup champions.

Canada, on the other hand, went in with nothing to lose. Led by coach Jesse Marsch, the Canadian national team saw their Copa America debut as a chance to have a positive start and, who knows, make a historic run.

Argentina.gob.ar, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Argentina, managed by the genius Lionel Scaloni, played in their traditional 4-3-3 formation. La Albiceleste took the field with legendary goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez under the posts, and Lisandro Martinez, Romero, Tagliafico, and Molina making up the defense. The midfield was composed of Leandro Paredes, Mac Allister, and Rodrigo de Paul. The attacking trio for the Argentinian team was made up of Di Maria, Alvarez, and the team captain Lionel Messi.

Canada went in with a 4-4-2 layout with Maxime in goal. The Canadian defense had Derek Cornelius, Moise Bombito, Alphonso Davies, and Johnston. The midfield was made up of Tajon Buchanan, Ismael Kone, Eustaquio, and Liam Millar. Leading the Canadian attack was the duo Cyle Larin and Jonathan David.

The game played out as expected with Argentina dominating from start to finish.

The superiority of the titleholder was evident on the field and through the statistics, with Argentina having more possession and more completed passes.

Argentina were also a lot more effective than Canada, with many more shots on goal than the Canadian team. The result of more shots on goal is more chances to score, and as expected, Argentina did not forgive, and with the chances created came chances converted. But before Argentina tested out the quality of the nets at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they had a difficult task at hand, which was to beat the Canadian goalkeeper.

One of the clearest chances to open the scoring came early, with Di Maria having a clear one-on-one with Maxime, but the Canadian goalkeeper got the better of the Argentinian winger.

Another dangerous moment came at 38 minutes when De Paul played a beautiful over-the-top ball for Mac Allister, but once again Maxime was able to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

However, Argentina weren’t the only team to make something happen in the first half. Forty-two minutes into the first half, Canada had their first big chance with a header by Stephen. The very competent play by the Canadian team had everything to be the start of a beautiful underdog story, however, Emiliano Martinez came in huge and was able to save Argentina.

The first Argentinian goal, and consequently the first goal of the Copa America, came at the 49-minute mark, with Julian Alvarez putting one in with an assist by Mac Allister.

After the goal, Argentina kept up the pressure in search of a second goal, which almost came just a minute after the first one with Julian Alvarez almost scoring a double but being denied by the goalkeeper.

As the game went on, Argentina continued to attack, and Canada continued to hold on by a thread.

In the 64th minute, Lionel Messi almost got one of his own, but once again, the Canadian keeper was superior. Canada later responded at 74 minutes with a potentially dangerous through ball, but like before, they weren’t able to get the better of Emiliano Martinez.

The second goal seemed inevitable, and it ended up coming at the 88-minute mark. The second goal for the Argentinian team was scored by striker Lautaro Martinez with an assist by the man himself, Lionel Messi.

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The late goal by Argentina was like a nail in the coffin, as it sealed Canada’s fate and ensured a tranquil victory for Scaloni’s men.

With this victory, Argentina hopes to set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

 Their outstanding performance was a perfect showcase of the high-quality football they are capable of delivering. Scaloni’s men made it clear why they are the reigning champions. 

Canada, on the other hand, left on a positive note, knowing that the 2-0 scoreline could have been much greater if it wasn’t for Maxime’s amazing performance.

 Next, Argentina will look ahead to their game on the 25th against Chile, while Canada will regroup and aim for a better result in their next match, also on the 25th, against Peru.

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