Lionel Messi equalled the record for most appearances for the Argentina first team on Monday night as Los Albiceleste secured their place in the quarterfinals of the Copa America by beating Paraguay 1-0.
The Barcelona captain equalled Javier Mascherano’s record of 147 games in the blue and white shirt and would be pleased to have a chance of winning a major title with Argentina for the first time in his career.
Argentina went into the tournament with the aim of securing its first international title in more than 15 years. However, they have not particularly lived up to the hype that their star-studded team has generated.
Monday’s victory in Brasilia was Argentina’s second 1-0 win in a row in this tournament and their 16th match without defeat since losing in the Copa America semifinal in 2019. They now have seven points from three games leaving them two points clear of Chile at the top of Group A.
“We’re through but we have to keep improving,” defender German Pezzella said to reporters at the end of the game.. “We had a great first half, our intensity wasn’t the same in the second but they didn’t have very many chances at goal.”
Sergio Aguero started a game for his country for the first time since November 2019 but the new Barcelona man had a game to forget.
Di Maria and Messi, however, dominated the proceedings with their attacking prowess upfront. The PSG man assisted the only goal of the night.