Friday, July 12, 2024

“Much Easier Draw” – USMNT Legend Still Unimpressed by Lionel Messi Despite Man of the Match Performance in Copa America Win Against Canada

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Argentina is just one step behind from winning the Copa America 2024. The reigning champions found their way through the finals for the second consecutive time following an easy 2-0 win over Canada. Skipper Lionel Messi not only scored his first goal of the tournament but was also named the man of the match. However, that wasn’t enough to impress Alexi Lalas as the USMNT icon is yet to witness Messi do ‘something spectacular.

La Albiceleste’s win over the Canucks became a topic of discussion among Lalas and fellow commentator David Mosse on the latest episode of the ‘State of the Union Podcast.’ Interestingly, the former US superstar remarked, “We have still not seen the best of Messi. I don’t think we have seen the best of this Argentina team and it should be said that they got a much easier draw and what was anticipated and predicted by most has come to fruition.”

It may be impressive for Argentina to again reach the finals. However, they have yet to showcase a dominant performance in the competition. “Argentina has done what they’ve done. At times it’s been okay, at times it’s been ugly. But we’re still waiting for them, or I guess for Messi to do something spectacular and we haven’t had that yet,” concluded Lalas.

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via Imago

So far, Argentina has defeated Canada twice with the same score, both tonight and in the opening group stage match. While their victory in the last group fixture against Peru was impressive, their narrow win over Chile and hard-fought quarter-final win over Ecuador on penalties were clearly mediocre performances from Lionel Scaloni’s side.

Let’s hope they are able to impress in the finals. However, there might be a specific reason concerning Messi that explains why he hasn’t been at his best so far.

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Lionel Messi faced ‘difficulties’ on the pitch during Argentina vs Canada

The Inter Miami star vocally expressed his concerns regarding the poor pitch conditions of the MetLife Stadium during the post-match interview. Interestingly, Lionel Messi commented, “This was a very difficult match. Damn, it was so hot and the pitch was very difficult to play on. But we have to enjoy what we were able to do.” Remarkably, Messi wasn’t alone in his criticism, as netizens also expressed their discontent with the pitch conditions at the NFL-based stadium.

via Reuters

The pitch appeared quite damp today, with water splashes visible with each step the players took. This issue primarily arose because CONMEBOL had installed natural grass over artificial turf. The installation occurred on June 20 for matches scheduled on June 25, June 27, and July 9. However, the grass has not been replaced yet since the group stages. Consequently, upon close inspection, numerous creases were also visible on the pitch.

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Let’s hope that neither Argentina nor the winner of Uruguay vs Colombia faces such difficulties in the final match.

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