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Copa America: Messi hails ‘important’ win as Argentina beat Canada in tournament opener

Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scored as defending champions Argentina kicked off the Copa America 2024 with a win.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi was pleased to see Argentina kick off their Copa America campaign with an “important’ win over Canada.

Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez were on target for the defending champions in the first game of the tournament in Atlanta.

The Manchester City forward opened the scoring from close range early in the first half before Martinez sealed the game after finding the net from Messi’s pass.

Messi and Co are going for their third successive tournament triumph, having won the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup despite failing to win their opening game in both campaigns.

But after securing an early three points against Jesse Marsch’s side, the 36-year-old believes they head into their second game against Chile on Wednesday in a strong position.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner said: “Yeah, we’ve always known how tough the opening game is. The most important thing is to get off to a winning start.

“It’s not happened previously under [Lionel] Scaloni so that calms things down because you suffer a lot when you start off losing.

“But we always play the same way. We’re in a difficult group and now we have to face a very good and competitive team [Chile].

“Ricardo Gareca’s arrival has given them something else as well.

“So yeah, we’re happy to have started with a win, but we’re now going to rest and prepare for Chile.

“We know that we have to be a team and achieve our goals in the right way.

“We know that the only path to do so is in our own way. So we will continue with the same humility and desire to win.”

The victory saw Argentina stretch their unbeaten run at the Copa America to nine matches after lifting the trophy in 2021 and coming third in 2019.

Argentina’s final group-stage game is against Peru on Sunday, June 30, with Canada facing Peru on Tuesday and then Chile four days later.

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with experience writing for national title, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.