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Canada’s dream run faces record-winners Argentina

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Phoenix (US), July 8: The semifinals of the Copa America are set as tied record winners of the tournament Argentina (15 with Uruguay) will be taking on the Canadian side who are making their first ever appearance at the competition.
The defending champions have been on a flying run at the Copa America 2024 campaign. The side has won all four games so far scoring six goals in the process whilst also maintaining the joint-best defensive effort in the league having conceded only one goal.
The only cause for concern for the current World Champions is that their captain, Lionel Messi is yet to score at the tournament. The Inter Miami forward has generated 0.85 expected goals and 1.3 shots on target per game whilst providing one assist so far. Lisandro Martinez the leading goalscorer at the tournament with four to his name.
They struggled in their quarterfinal outing against Ecuador and were once again carried to victory by one of the best penalty specialists the game has ever seen, Emiliano Martinez.
Argentina are the tied record-winners along with other semifinalists. Uruguay as both nations have 15 to their name.
The two sides previously faced each other in the opening game of the tournament, a fixture that Argentina won 2-0 thanks to goals by Julian Alvarez and Martinez.
Canada, on the other hand, are participating at the tournament for the first time and have the chance to script history.
The team could become the second ever non CONMEBOL team to qualify for the finals of the trophy.
Their trip to the finals was full of uncertainty and the 1-0 win over Peru followed by a 0-0 draw against Chile saw them qualify for the quarter-finals where they scraped past Venezuela 4-3 on penalties.
“Argentina will have to be the best match we’ve ever played and it still might not be enough. But, whatever. We’re going to go for it,” said Canadian head coach Jesse March after their win over Venezuela.
Stay grounded, manager Lorenzo urges Colombia
Colombia’s manager Nestor Lorenzo urged his players to remain grounded after the team reached the Copa America semifinals with a 5-0 rout of Panama.
The result means Lorenzo’s men will meet Uruguay in Charlotte on July 10 for a place in the final, reports Xinhua.
“The goal is to win our semifinal because the most important game is always the next one,” Lorenzo said when asked about Colombia’s chances of lifting the continental trophy for only the second time.
The Cafeteros are unbeaten in their past 27 outings dating back almost two and a half years. All but three of those games have been under the command of Lorenzo, who replaced Reinaldo Rueda in June 2022.
“We are confirming the importance of coming to the national team and wearing the shirt,” Lorenzo said. “The players feel great pride in being here and that is very important.”
Lorenzo did not hide his delight at seeing forward Miguel Borja come off the bench against Panama to score his first goal in this Copa America.
Borja had limited playing time here despite having scored 22 goals in 25 games across all competitions for Argentina’s River Plate this year.
“I was happy to give Borja an opportunity and to see him score,” he said. “Irrespective of whether they start or not, our aim is always to see players do well and be successful.” (IANS)

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