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Lionel Messi plays down expectations ahead of Argentina’s Copa defence

Messi scored twice as Lionel Scaroni's side saw off Guatemala

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has warned “nothing will be easy” for Argentina as they prepare to defend their Copa America crown.

Messi was at his sparkling best as Lionel Scaroni’s men won their final warm-up game 4-1 against Guatemala in Washington, scoring twice to add to a brace from Inter striker Lautaro Martinez.

Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez’s own goal had given Guatemala a surprise lead before Messi took control of the game.

Argentina are not just continental champions but also world champions following their triumph in Qatar in 2022 but Messi was preaching caution ahead of the Copa, which gets under way on June 20 when they take on Canada in Atlanta.

The Inter Miami star said: “We will continue to give the maximum and we are eager to keep trying to continue achieving things as we say all the time.

“It’s going to be more and more difficult, it’s not going to be easy at all because the games are getting harder and harder. Winning is becoming more difficult but we are going to try again.”


Carboni enhances his chances

Scaloni will name his squad for the Copa this weekend with Valentin Carboni in with a chance after impressing Messi against Guatemala.

He said of the Monza attacker: “It seems to me that he has a big future, and a present that we must take advantage of.

“Since we arrived in the United States, he has been training with us. I had seen him in the Under-20s but he has grown a lot. He has great quality.”

Argentina are in Group A alongside the Canadians, Peru and Chile.

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.