Devastating Argentina reach Copa final

Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:51pm EDT
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By Santiago Torres

CONCEPCION, Chile (Reuters) - Argentina produced their best performance of the Copa America so far to crush Paraguay 6-1 on Tuesday and set up a classic final against hosts Chile.

Angel di Maria scored twice and Marcos Rojo, Javier Pastore, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain also found the net in a brilliant display orchestrated by an inspired Lionel Messi.

Argentina had scored only four goals in their four previous matches but Messi said it was not because the team had not been playing well.

“We talked about that just before the match and we said it was just chance that we hadn’t scored more because we’ve been playing well,” Messi said.

“Today all the goals came at once.”

Gerardo Martino’s side took the lead after 15 minutes when Messi swung a free kick in from the left, Rojo failed to connect cleanly with his first touch but swept the ball home from close range with his second.

Argentina doubled their lead 12 minutes later and again Messi was the provider, threading an inch-perfect pass through the Paraguayan defense for Pastore to run on to. His powerful low shot gave goalkeeper Justo Villar no chance.

Things went from bad to worse for Paraguay when both their strikers, Derliz Gonzalez and Roque Santa Cruz, limped off injured.   Continued...

Paraguay's Paulo Da Silva (R) fails to stop a goal by Argentina's Angel Di Maria during their Copa America 2015 semi-final soccer match at Estadio Municipal Alcaldesa Ester Roa Rebolledo in Concepcion, Chile, June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins