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Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Semi Final - Argentina v Croatia - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 13, 2022 Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after Julian Alvarez scores their third goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

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Argentina defeated Canada with 2-0 goals to reach the Copa America final

Defending champions Argentina secured their place in the Copa America final with a 2-0 victory over Canada in Tuesday’s semi-final in New Jersey, thanks to goals from Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi.

Argentina, who have won a joint-record 15 Copa titles and reached the final six times in the past eight editions, faced early challenges from Canada. Jacob Shaffelburg had two promising shots go wide in the opening 20 minutes.

Despite the early pressure, Argentina took the lead in the 22nd minute when Rodrigo De Paul set up Alvarez, who skillfully maneuvered between two defenders to score.

The 2022 World Cup winners gradually took control of the match. Messi nearly doubled the lead in the 44th minute, creating space with his footwork before shooting wide.

Canada almost equalized in first-half stoppage time when Jonathan David got on the end of a long throw, but his close-range shot was saved by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Messi scored Argentina’s second goal in the 51st minute, redirecting Enzo Fernandez’s shot past Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau. This goal moved Messi to joint fifth in the all-time Copa America scoring charts, level with Peru’s Paolo Guerrero and Chile’s Eduardo Vargas on 14 goals.

The 37-year-old’s 109th goal for Argentina also saw him surpass Iran’s Ali Daei on the all-time international scoring charts. Messi is now second only to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored 130 goals for Portugal.

Despite their two-goal lead, Argentina faced a nervy finish as Canada’s substitute Tani Oluwaseyi tested Martinez with a crisp shot in the 89th minute and then headed wide a minute later.

Argentina will face either Uruguay or Colombia, who meet on Wednesday, in the final in Florida on Sunday.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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