Messi primed to end Argentina drought in Copa final

Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:10pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Andrew Downie

(Reuters) - Chile face Argentina in Sunday's Copa America final for the right to call themselves South America's dominant team but perhaps an even bigger question for football fans the world over regards whether Lionel Messi can finally win a major international title.

The Barcelona forward has won every trophy possible with the Spanish club but he has lost three finals with Argentina, including in 2014 World Cup Final in 2014 and the Copa America last year.

Sunday's game against Chile in New Jersey gives Messi a chance to end both his personal hoodoo and that of Argentina, who have not won a major title since lifting the Copa America in Ecuador in 1993.

"Getting to three finals in a row is impressive," said Messi, whose first decider was a 3-0 loss to Brazil in the 2007 Copa America. "I hope we can win the Cup that we so desire."

Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the final last year and Messi said the squad were better prepared this time around.

"You learn all the time," said Messi, who turned 29 on Friday.

"We have been working together for another year, we are stronger as a group and we've really grown in a lot of ways."

The five-times world player of the year has been outstanding at the Centenary Copa America, even though he played the first three games as a substitute after injuring his back in a warm-up game.   Continued...

Jun 21, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10) stands for the national anthem before the match against the United States in the semifinals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports