Argentina 1-0 Chile (Jun 25, 2024) Game Analysis

Lautaro Martínez scored from a rebound in the 88th minute, giving defending champions Argentina and Lionel Messi a 1-0 victory over Chile on Tuesday night that guaranteed a berth in the Copa América quarterfinals.

Messi’s corner kick led to a shot blocked by goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, and Martínez pounced to score his second goal of the tournament on Argentina’s 21st shot of the match.

Players stood and waited for three minutes while the goal, Martínez’s 26th for the national team, was confirmed in a video review.

Argentina leads Group A with six points, followed by Canada with three, and Chile and Peru with one each. The Albiceleste finishes the first round against Peru at Miami Gardens, Florida, on Saturday, while Canada meets Chile in Orlando, Florida.

Playing a day after his 37th birthday, Messi frequently flaunted his talent to spin around and slalom through defenders before an adoring sellout crowd of 81,106 at MetLife Stadium, site of the 2026 World Cup final. Argentina dominated 21-3 in shots and 11-0 in corner kicks and Chile didn’t take its first attempt until the 72nd minute.

Messi came the closest to scoring before Martínez with a 30-yard shot that glanced off the post to Bravo’s left in the 36th minute. Messi also received treatment on the thigh area of his right leg for nearly two minutes after getting kicked by Gabriel Suazo in the 24th.

Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring a goal for Argentina in the Copa América .
Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring a goal for Argentina in the Copa América .

Nicolás González’s shot from another Messi pass in the 62nd was parried off the crossbar by Bravo.

Argentina outshot Chile 17-0 before Rodrigo Echeverría’s 72nd-minute effort following a turnover was saved by Emiliano Martínez. The goalkeeper then made another diving save on Echeverría in the 76th.

On the 46th anniversary of Argentina winning its first World Cup title, the teams returned to the stadium where Chile beat Argentina on penalty kicks in the 2016 Copa América final. That defeat prompted Messi to announce his international retirement only to reverse his decision seven weeks later.

At least 90% of the fans wore Argentina jerseys, most with Messi’s name and No. 10.

Bravo, at 41 the oldest player in Copa América history, had eight saves in his 150th international appearance. He and Messi, former Barcelona teammates, spoke with each other while leading their teams onto the field for the national anthems.

There were some small brown patches behind one goal on a grass field installed at a stadium where the usual surface is artificial turf. The surface was narrow, with construction scheduled to allow a wider field for the World Cup.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.