Friday, July 19, 2024

Messi Sidelined for Argentina-Peru Copa America Match

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Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s final Copa America group game against Peru due to muscle tightness, team officials announced on Friday.

Assistant coach Walter Samuel revealed at a press conference that the Inter Miami star is dealing with a right adductor muscle injury and is being monitored “day-by-day.”

“Leo had a problem in the last game, so he won’t be available for this one,” Samuel said. “We are taking it day-by-day to see how he progresses.”

Despite Messi’s absence, Samuel downplayed its impact on the team, suggesting veteran Angel Di Maria might step in.

“The team has always risen to the occasion when he hasn’t been there,” Samuel stated.

Argentina has already secured a spot in the quarter-finals after victories against Canada and Chile in their first two matches. A draw against Peru at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Saturday will ensure Argentina tops the group.

While several first-choice players are expected to be rested, Samuel emphasized that Argentina is taking the match seriously.

“Peru has top players; we are approaching this game with the utmost seriousness,” Samuel said. He will lead the team from the bench as head coach Lionel Scaloni serves a one-game suspension.

Scaloni and Argentina were sanctioned for being late to return to the field after halftime in their games against Chile and Canada. Samuel mentioned that Scaloni was “a little bitter” about the suspension.

“We consider ourselves a disciplined coaching staff, and in all these years, we’ve never faced such sanctions,” Samuel added.

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