Lionel Messi to start Argentina’s final Copa América warmup

Manager Lionel Scaloni has confirmed that Lionel Messi will start for Argentina against Guatemala at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland as they finalise their preparations for Copa América.

Messi came off the bench in Argentina’s opening warmup game against Ecuador on Sunday, with Scaloni sayung they would manage the forward’s minutes in the lead up to the tournament.

The 36-year-old has dealt with some muscle injuries while playing for Inter Miami this season, with Argentina making sure he remains first for Copa América. However, Scaloni has confirmed Messi will start against Guatemala and could play the whole match.

“Leo is going to play from the start,” Scaloni told a news conference on Thursday. “The other day it was decided that he play a few minutes, and we had already talked about him playing. Based on how he is, we will see the amount. If he can play everything, even better.

“We expect the same from him as always: that he plays football, that he associates with his teammates and that he be himself. On the field, in the end what we need is that he is comfortable, that he is comfortable with the team that we put out.”

Scoloni is yet to announce his final 26-player roster, waiting until after the Ecuador game to make the final cuts.

Argentina’s are scheduled to kick off their tournament against Group A opponents Canada on June 20.