Confident Argentina eye semis in Copa America

3 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Confident Argentina eye semis in Copa America

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni (left), forward Lionel Messi (cente) and other footballers attend a training session at Argentina’s base camp in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires on Thursday. — AFP photo

Argentina and Ecuador square off in Goiania on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the Copa America, with a place in the final four up for grabs, reports SportsMole.

Argentina topped their group to reach the knockout stage, and they take on an Ecuador side who confirmed their fourth-placed finish in Group B with an impressive draw against Brazil.

As expected, Argentina cruised through the Copa America group stage in relatively comfortable fashion, picking up 10 points from their four games.

They did have a shaky start though, drawing 1-1 with Chile as Eduardo Vargas pounced on the rebound from a saved penalty to level the game after Lionel Messi had put La Albiceleste ahead with a free kick in the first half.

Lionel Scaloni's men quickly bounced back and built a winning run, first defeating Uruguay 1-0 thanks to an early Guido Rodriguez goal.

They then followed that up with another 1-0 win, as Alejandro Gomez fired them to a victory over Paraguay with a goal in the 10th minute.

In their final group game, La Albiceleste thrashed Bolivia 4-1 as captain Messi hit a brace alongside goals from Gomez and Lautaro Martinez. Having grown into the tournament so far, Scaloni's men will look to continue their campaign with a win over Ecuador to book their spot in the final four, given the expectations on Argentina to qualify.

Their opponents narrowly secured qualification to the final eight, having pipped Venezuela to fourth spot in Group B.

Ecuador's group campaign started with a 1-0 defeat to Colombia, as Edwin Cardona hit the winning goal before half time, but they would bounce back with three consecutive draws to seal a top-four finish.

They picked up a much more impressive point, drawing with pre-tournament favourites Brazil as Angel Mena levelled the game in the 53rd minute after Eder Militao's headed opener for the Selecao, who had won all three of their group games up to that point.