FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS, Sporting Alert – Lionel Messi is set to the return the starting lineup for Argentina against Venezuela in Saturday’s Copa America Centenario quarterfinal action.
MESSI TO RETURN
Messi started on the bench for the opening two group games of the tournament, but has scored three goals in his two appearances thus far.
A back problem he picked up before the start of the tournament, plus personal court distractions, have hammered the Barcelona forward’s journey.
It was expected that Messi would have started in Argentina’s final group match on Tuesday, but it is understood that his representatives didn’t want the captain be rushed.
The World No. 1 team went on to beat Bolivia 3-0, while Messi, who scored a 19-minute hat-trick in the second group match game against Panama, impressed against the South Americans in his 45 minutes on the pitch Tuesday night.
The 28-year-old has apparently recovered from his setbacks and is good to go from the start on Saturday, reports from his camp are saying.
According to ESPN predictions, Argentina has an 87-percent chance of knocking out Venezuela in the quarterfinals.
At the sametime, though, Venezuela has been very impressive thus far, and is undefeated in the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
Wins over Jamaica and Uruguay were followed by an exciting 1-1 draw with Mexico and coach Rafael Dudamel is back his team to compete against the tournament favourite at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, this weekend.
MEXICO v CHILE BATTLE
The second quarterfinal game on Saturday night will see defending champion Chile taking on Mexico at Levi’s Stadium in California.
El Tri topped their group with some impressive performances, while La Roja were second to Argentina in their group.
The experts are backing the CONCACAF side to get the better of the defending champions who have been improving since losing their first game.
With the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo, Jean Beausejour and Eduardo Vargas, Chile cannot be overlooked.
However, Mexico has been one of the top performing teams at the 2016 Copa America Centenario, and will be tough to beat.
Rafael Márquez, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Javier Hernández and Jesús Manuel Corona are all expected to start, so we should brace ourselves for a classical counter attacking style of football on Saturday night.
The winners of Saturday night’s final two quarterfinals, will join USA and Colombia who are already into the last four of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
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