Just when you think Lionel Messi cannot possibly get any better, he goes straight out and proves otherwise. The Argentina star put in yet another display of the highest quality to down the United States 4-0 and send the Albiceleste strolling into the final of the Copa America Centenario.


Argentina started with a throwback to the 1994 World Cup, the last major tournament disputed in the US. Just seven minutes in Messi’s perfectly weighted pass found Ezequiel Lavezzi alone and the forward – drafted in as a replacement for the suspended Nicolas Gaitan – nodded in to break home resistance at the first attempt.

Lavezzi chose to pay homage to one Diego Maradona, who 22 years ago to the day netted his 32nd and last goal for the country against Greece. Pocho’s imitation of the great’s wild-eyed gesticulation to the cameras summed up this team – immensely powerful, but at the same time blessed with the pure enjoyment of playing the game.