HOUSTON, Sporting Alert – USA and Argentina meet in a Copa America semi-final clash on Tuesday, and we all know who everyone will be coming to see, Lionel Messi.
Tough To Beat The No. 1
A large Americans gathering will be at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, to watch the game and will remain hopeful that the hosts can pull off the biggest surprise of the tournament.
However, there are those who just can’t see it happening.
“Honestly, we know that if Argentina gets going, the U.S. have no chance,” said one hopeful, but realistic American female supporter.
Messi, who equalled Gabriel Batistuta’s national scoring record with 54 goals in his team’s 4-1 quarterfinal win over Venezuela last week, will spearhead La Albiceleste’s attack, which is expected to also include Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.
“I am just coming to see Lionel Messi play,” she continued. “Argentina will be playing with the best player in the world, so realistically, we have no chance.”
Despite the odds stacking up against his team, though, USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann insists his side has the talent to not only upset the world top-ranked team, but to go all the way and lift the 2016 Copa America.
“There’s no reason at all why we can’t win Copa America,” he told a pre-game news conference.
“We travelled the world the last few years to very difficult friendly games all over Europe and in Mexico and we came away with wins.
“We surprised a lot of people — no one gave us a chance to get out of the group in Brazil [at the World Cup]. We left Portugal behind, we left Ghana behind.
“Dream big — why not? This is about two more games.”
The United States booked its place into the semis with a with a battling 2-1 quarterfinal win over Ecuador, but that result game at a price.
Klinsmann welcomes the return of full-back DeAndre Yedlin, but the German coach will be without forward Bobby Wood and midfielders Alejandro Bedoya and Jermaine Jones.
Wood and Bedoya will miss out after picking up their second yellow cards of the tournament against Ecuador, while Jones was sent off in the same game. USA, expectedly lost their appeals against the suspensions of Wood and Jones.
Messi Hunts Team Success
Meanwhile, after drawing level at the top with Batistuta on goals scored for his country, Messi admits that he’s “happy” about the accomplishment, but insists the team success is more important to him.
“I drew level with him, I did not break the record, but to be next to Gabriel Batistuta as the highest goalscorer, with all that implies, is a source of great pride for me,” the Barcelona forward was quoted as telling Telam.
“But I am also happy not just because I scored, but because I helped the team.
“Our goal was to move forward and make the semifinals. We did that with a great game and by playing better, except for the last 15 minutes of the first half when Venezuela pressured us and started to take the ball.”
Argentina, the beaten World Cup finalist, finished as runner-up to Chile last year, and it is hoping to end a 23-year halt for a Copa America title.