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Copa America: Argentina vs Canada tips and predictions - Messi on target in winning start for holders

Copa America holders Argentina have been handed a straight-forward start to life in Group A as they face Jesse Marsch’s Canada on Thursday night (Fri 0100 BST)

Argentina arrive in the US hoping to become the second side to win three successive major tournaments as they kick off their Copa America defence against Canada.

Lionel Scaloni’s side has been almost untouchable since losing their opening World Cup match to Saudi Arabia in Qatar, suffering just one loss to Uruguay.

Marcelo Bielsa was the mastermind of that result and from one former Leeds boss to another, Jesse Marsch faces a tough test in his third game in charge.

Preparations for the tournament saw them outclassed by the Netherlands in a 4-0 loss, but they did stand firm in a 0-0 draw with World Cup runners-up France.

Still, the quality goes up at this level and this is as hard an opening match as you’ll find in world football.

 

 

 

Canada’s defence will have to figure out a way of dealing with Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Julian Alvarez at the same time.

With Alphonso Davies, Stephen Eustaquio and Jonathan David in the side, this is arguably Canada’s best-ever crop of players, but it still isn’t enough.

They had these players to call upon at the World Cup 18 months ago and still failed miserably because their defence betrayed them in key moments.

The Canadians haven’t beaten a side from South America this century and with this match being so early in Jesse Marsch’s reign, it’s hard to see how they’ll be organised enough to stifle Argentina.

 

Planet Sport Bet Copa America offer: Bet £20 pre-match, Get 10x20p free spins on Big Football Bonus if a goal is scored the in 1st half

 

Key stats

-  Argentina have won 13 of 14 matches since winning the World Cup

-  Argentina kept a clean sheet in 11 of those victories

-  Argentina have lost just two of their last 58 matches across all competitions

-  Canada are winless in 10 meetings with South American sides this century

-  Canada lost 4-0 to Netherlands and drew 0-0 to France in warm-up matches

 

Suggested bets

Argentina to win to nil

Argentina -1.5 Asian handicap

Lionel Messi to score

 

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