Argentina vs Colombia: Messi can continue scoring spree to set up Brazil final

The impressive Argentines can reach yet another final with a victory over Colombia as they look to conquer their Copa America curse.

When: Wednesday, July 7, 2am GMT

Where: Brasilia

How to watch: BBC

Best bets

Argentina to win both halves - 4/1

Lionel Messi to score and assist a goal - 13/2

Argentina to be winning at half time and BTTS - 16/1

Lionel Messi inspired the Argentines to a comfortable 3-0 victory in their quarter-final clash against Ecuador, scoring one and creating two for Lionel Scaloni's side.

As well as recording their third clean sheet of the tournament, La Abiceleste have scored 10 goals in five games and head into the clash in great form.

Argentina were not the only team to impress in the quarter-finals, though. Colombia overcame Luis Suarez's Uruguay in a penalty shootout, winning 4-2.

Copa America form

Argentina

Argentina 1-1 Chile

Argentina 1-0 Uruguay

Argentina 1-0 Paraguay

Bolivia 1- 4 Argentina

Argentina 3-0 Ecuador

Following a disappointing draw against Chile in their opening match of the tournament, Argentina have emerged as a serious force in the competition - winning four straight games, scoring six and conceding only once.

Emiliano Martínez of Aston Villa is enjoying his stint as Argentina's first-choice goalkeeper.

Wins include a 3-0 drubbing of Ecuador and a 4-1 thrashing of Bolivia. Of the seven goals scored by La Abiceleste in the last two fixtures, Lionel Messi has been involved in six of them, producing three goals and three assists.

As his fantastic form in 2021 continues, it is clear the mini maestro is determined to diminish his drought of a major international trophy once and for all.

With Barcelona's Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez also finding the net in recent performances, the Colombians face a monumental task on their hands in stopping the astounding attack of the Argentines.

Colombia

Colombia 1-0 Ecuador

Colombia 0-0 Venezuela

Colombia 1-2 Peru

Brazil 2-1 Colombia

Uruguay 0 (2) - (4) 0 Colombia (AET and Penalties)

It's been a mixed bag for the Colombians in the Copa America so far, having won just one game in normal time and managing three goals in five games of soccer.

With that being said, Los Cafeteros have proven to be tricky customers on a number of occasions throughout the tournament.

After stunning Brazil with a shock lead, it took a Roberto Firmino goal in the 100th minute to snatch three points away.

Very few would have also expected Rueda's men to triumph against the robust Uruguayans.

They took the game to La Celeste, creating more chances in the game and tirelessly fought throughout two hours of soccer.

While Suarez and Edinson Cavani scored from 12 yards out, they missed their other two compared to Colombia converting four out of four.

Colombia may not be the finished product, but they have continued to defy expectation throughout the tournament and could frustrate the Argentines if previous games are any indication to go by.

Magic Messi has his eye on the prize

Messi has undoubtedly been the player of the tournament so far
Messi has undoubtedly been the player of the tournament so far

Fresh off the back of another brilliant personal campaign for Barcelona, Messi has picked up where he left off for La Albiceleste as he chases a first trophy at international level.

The 34-year-old has featured in three Copa America finals for his country throughout his career, and finished on the losing side of each one.

He now has a golden opportunity to make it four and seems more determined than ever to prevent history from cruelly repeating itself once more.

As previously mentioned, Messi is undeniably set to be crowned the competition's player of the tournament with four goals and four assists in five games so far.

The forward has played 35 games so far in 2021, 26 of which have seen him crowned man of the match. His march towards a seventh Ballon D'Or is gathering momentum with each game he plays in.

With a plethora of individual accolades and domestic trophies, the rampant Rosarian may finally have found his calling: to lead his country to glory and place the ceremonious cherry on one of the game's greatest careers.

Argentina squad:

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani, Emiliano Martinez, Agustin Marchesin and Juan Musso

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel, Nicolas Otamendi, German Pezzella, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lisandro Martinez, Marcos Acuna, Cristian Romero and Nahuel Molina Lucero

Midfielders: Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria, Guido Rodriguez, Giovani Lo Celso, Exequiel Palacios, Nicolas Gonzalez, Rodrigo De Paul, Alejandro Gomez, Angel Correa and Nicolas Dominguez

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Joaquín Correa, Lucas Alario and Sergio Aguero

International head-to-head

Argentina wins: 20

Draws: 8

Colombia wins: 6

Colombia hindered by goalscoring frailties

Colombia's failures in front of goal could cost them against Argentina
Colombia's failures in front of goal could cost them against Argentina

Leading up the tournament, Colombia fans had become accustomed to goals at both ends of the pitch throughout their side's World Cup qualifying campaign.

Los Cafeteros scored nine and conceded 11 in just five games to go fifth in their group, notably losing 6-1 to Ecuador in a catastrophic collapse.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and the side are experiencing problems of the opposite sort - defensive stability has been hindered by a lack of potency in front of goal.

The consistent brilliance of veteran goalkeeper David Ospina has been exceptionally shielded by the formidable partnership of Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez.

Sadly for Colombia, the same heroics have not been replicated at the other end of the pitch, with the side scoring just three times in five games.

Underwhelming performances from Atlanta duo Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata could lead to a reliance on Miguel Borja to grab the goals against the Argentines as they look to win their first Copa America title since 2001.

Colombia squad:

Goalkeepers: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Aldair Quintana

Defenders: Stefan Medina, Oscar Murillo, Carlos Cuesta, William Tesillo, Yerry Mina, Daniel Munoz, Davinson Sanchez, Jhon Lucumi

Midfielders: Wílmar Barrios, Gustavo Cuellar, Edwin Cardona, Juan Cuadrado, Mateus Uribe, Yairo Moreno, Leandro Campaz, Sebastian Perez, Baldomero Perlaza

Forwards: Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel, Luis Diaz, Rafael Santos Boree, Miguel Borja, Alfredo Morelos, Yimmi Chara

Goalscorer bets

Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero have also found the net for Argentina
Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero have also found the net for Argentina

Messi has been the standout player of the Copa America so far, with four goals and four assists, including some breathtaking free-kick efforts.

Argentina's magisterial magician is 9/1 to deliver from a free-kick once again.

Miguel Borja has one goal and one assist for the Colombians in the tournament thus far.

The forward is priced at 17/4 to score first for Reinaldo Rueda's side.

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