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Julián Álvarez 48', Lautaro Martínez 87'

Argentina 2-0 Canada: summary, score, goals, highlights | Copa América 2024

Álvarez and Martínez goals enough for opening night win

As it happened: Argentina - Canada

Argentina kick-start their Copa America defence with a 2-0 victory over Canada. 

The holders created plenty of first half chances, particular an early one-on-one for Angel Di Maria, but they were all squandered. Canada, too, fashioned some openings but failed to find the back of the net. 

The breakthrough came early in the second half when Julian Alvarez pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired home. Both teams had opportunities to score but none were taken, until substitute Lautaro Martinez latched onto a Lionel Messi through-ball in the final minutes and doubled Argentina's advantage. 

Three takeaways

- Lionel Messi doesn't look match-sharp 

- Canada will cause teams problems in this tournament

- Argentina will pack stadiums wherever they go

William Gittins

Argentina get the win against Canada

It wasn't easy, but Argentina managed to get the job done against an impressive Canadian team. Both sides created plenty of chances but we had to wait until the second half for the first goal of the game, a consequence of some wasteful finishing. 

Lionel Scaloni will demand improve from his team but Argentina have started the tournament with a win, and that's all that matter right now. 

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Peeep peeeep peeeeeeeeeeep

The free kick is comfortably saved by Martinez and that's that. 

The referee blows the full time whistle and Argentina's Copa America defence has got off to a winning start. 

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This could well be the final action of the game. Lionel Messi stands over the ball...

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Messi does brilliantly to bring down and high ball and dart through the Canada midfield, baring down on the defence. He skips past Bombito but is hacked down by the defender as he approaches the box.

Free kick to Argentina, around 25 yards from goal. 

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A long ball forward nearly finds Tagliafico running through on goal but he's caught by a recovering defending.

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Good work from Lautaro Martinez to win his side a corner kick. Argentina can just run down the clock now. 

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That second goal has made it safe for Argentina and there's more of a party atmosphere inside the stadium now. 

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There will be five minutes of added time at the end of the second half. 

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And now, with that second goal, a chorus of 'Muchachos' rolls around the stadium. 

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GOOOOAAAAAAL! Lautaro Martinez

Finally! We have a second goal!

So easy, a slipped through ball from Lionel Messi and a cool finish from Lautaro Martinez. Argentina have a two-goal lead. 

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Lionel Messi floats in another inch-perfect free kick toward Otamendi. 

This time the big defender tries to bring the ball down in the box but he blasts his effort over the crossbar. 

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Last roll of the dice for Jesse Marsch as he makes a double change. 

Rowe and Osorio come on for Kone and Millar. 

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This game is getting really open now with chances for both teams. 

Argentina look like the more likely to score, but you would not rule out a Canada leveller. 

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Another, another one!

Lionel Messi pinches the ball of Bombito and sets Martinez sprinting through on goal, just him and Crepeau. 

The Inter Milan striker goes low and hard but Crepeau saves again, keeping his team in this game. 

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Another one!

Free kick to Argentina on the right, swung into the box by Messi. 

Otmendi has a free header in the middle but completely misses the target!

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This really should be 2-1 to Argentina. Or 3-2. Or 3-3, perhaps. 

There have been so many good chances missed, by both sides. 

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Another Messi miss!

Incredible stuff. Again, Lionel Messi is baring down on goal and again he lets the chance pass him by. He tried to lift the ball over Crepeau but didn't get a clean connection and watched the ball bounce wide of the goal. 

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Watch: Julian Alvarez goal fires Argentina ahead

Here it is, the first goal of the 2024 Copa America. 

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Canada win a free kick in the Argentina half, they are very much still in this game with a quarter of an hour still to play. 

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Good play from Argentina works the ball to De Paul in the box and he plays a wonderful first-time pass across the face of goal. 

There's no Argentina player there to convert and the opportuntiy goes to waste. 

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Double change for Argentina now as Lionel Scaloni looks to change things.

Martinez and Otamendi enter. Alvarez and Paredes depart. 

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Canada come forward again, this time with Johnston on the right. He whips in a dangerous low cross but Larin can't quite get his toe on the end of it. 

Argentina are living a little dangerously now. 

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No penalty.

After a lengthy check, officials decide that no foul was commitment. 

Canada can feel a little unfortunate there. 

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Big calls for a Canada penalty!

Shaffelburg appeared to be tripped, but was it inside the box? It's gone to VAR...

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And now the first change of the game for Argentina. 

Giovani Lo Celso comes on, Angel Di Maria comes off. 

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David should do better!

The first cross is cleared but this clipped back into the danger zone by Jacob Shaffelburg. 

Jonathan David connects with the cross on the edge of the six-yard box but his header is off-target. Big chance for Canada.

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Canada come up the other end and win a corner. 

There's a lot of jostling in the box, enough to force the referee to have a word with the guilty parties. 

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Messi misses one-on-one!

Huge kick forward from Martinez finds Messi racing through on goal. His first effort is well-saved and he tries a delicate chip with his second attempt. 

Again, Crepeau gets himself in the way and the chance is lost. 

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Rodrigo De Paul

The Argentina midfielder is booked for cynically blocking a Canadian attack. 

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First change of the game. Canada replace Tajon Buchanan with Jacob Shaffelburg. 

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A monstrous tackle from Cristian Romero wins the ball on the halfway line for his team. Argentina look much more up for this now. 

Lionel Scaloni's halftime team talk appears to have worked. 

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Nearly a big chance for Messi as he darts into the box. The Argentina captain is nudged at the crucial moment but does at least win a corner kick for his team. 

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There looks to have been a subtle shift from Argentina at the break. Lionel Messi is now playing off the right, with Julian Alvarez taking the more central role. 

Alvarez' energy certainly helped him score Argentina's opener. 

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Canada's best chances have come when they've been able to get Alphonso Davies one-on-one with an Argentina defender. 

It's easier said than done, but they need to try to move the ball a little faster to create those situations. 

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Canada are looking to play their way back into the game now, having conceded just minutes into the second half. They enjoy a bit of possession inside the Argentina half now, under intense pressure from the opposition. 

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Argentina are back on the attack now and force a corner kick. 

Messi takes from the right but his whipped cross is headed clear by a Canadian defender. 

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Brilliant pass from Messi to send Mac Allister racing through on goal. The midfielder was wiped out by Crepeau but the loose ball fell to Alvarez who passed the ball into an empty net. 

Argentina lead. The perfect start to the half for Lionel Scaloni. 

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I spoke to soon! Argentina have the lead and it's a close-range finish from Julian Alvarez!

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Slow start to the second half as both teams ease back into the action. 

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No substitutions for either team at the break, although Argentina will be hoping for an improving in play. Let's see what they can muster in the second 45.

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We're back!

Argentina get the second half underway...

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And now Argentina return to the field

They are the world champions, they will not be rushed. After a short delay, Argentina return for the second half in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Lionel Scaloni will be demanding improving on their first half showing. 

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Copa América complete list of winners: Which national team has won the most trophies in history?

While we're waiting for Argentina to emerge from the locker room, why not take the opportunity to re-acquaint yourself with the history of Copa America. Here's everything you need to know...

Copa America winners

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Canada are out for the second half

Jesse Marsch clearly had very little to say to his team during the halftime break and his team are out nice and promptly for the second 45.

Canadian supporters will be very happy with the first half showing, although they will feel that they should be ahead. 

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Reason to cheer for Canadian fans

Well, Canada fans. That wasn't so bad, was it?

A spirited performance form Jesse Marsch's men in the first half saw them fashion two or three very presentable chances, one of which they really should have scored. They've looked resolute at the back and goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau has already made some sharp saves. 

Good stuff all round. 

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Lionel Messi makes history

No goals and precious little involvement from Lionel Messi in the opening 45 minutes, but he's still managed to set a tournament record. 

His appearance tonight takes Messi to 35 games in Copa America, more than any other player in the competition's history. 

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Peeep peeep peeeeeeeeeeep

That's all from the opening 45 minutes of the 2024 Copa America. 

Argentina have had the most of the ball, Canada have had the better of the chances. 

All to play for after the break. 

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Nearly a late chance as Alvarez latches onto a long ball forward and tries to round Crepeau. The Man City man takes it too wide and can't properly direct his shot. 

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They won't have to wait much longer. 

One minute of added time is signalled. 

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Paredes wins his team a free kick in their own half. Argentina probably wouldn't mind the halftime whistle now. 

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Huge chance Canada!

Chance of the match so far. 

Larin gets into the box on the right for Canada and fires in a cross. Stephen Eustaquio meets it well with his head, six yards from goal, but his effort is straight at Martinez!

Davies slashes at the rebound and Argentina survive. Massive chance for Canada, there. 

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Bizarrely, Marcos Acuna on the left flank has probably been Argentina's most dangerous player so far. 

His energy and width on that side of the field has been a constant out-ball for Argentina. 

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Good work from De Paul to win the ball back in midfield and get Argentina on the attack. Di Maria tries an outrageous outside-of-the-boot pass towards Messi but it's easily cut out. 

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A clever ball over the top towards Alvarez forces Crepeau to sprint out of his box and clear the danger. 

Good decision from the Canadian keeper. 

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The corner is, again, played short. 

Again, nothing comes of it for Argentina. 

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Another corner kick from Argentina, Lionel Messi to take from the right...

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Acuna makes a darting run in-field and tries to slip a pass through to Messi. 

Good positioning from Bombito, who blocks the through ball. 

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Messi pings the ball out to Acuna on the left flank and the leftback forces a corner kick. 

Argentina take it short...

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Davies provides the spark!

It's that man again, burning around the outside on the left and sending a teasing low cross into the box. This time Larin tries a clever flick at the front post but it's blocked.

More promising play from Alphonso Davies

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Nice play here from Canada, as Larin, Buchanan and Johnston combine on the right. 

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Big chance Canada!

Blistering pace from Davies sends him free down the left wing. He gets to the byline and pulls a ball back to Larin, who can't quite reach it. 

The loose ball falls to Buchanan but his spin-shot is dragged wide. 

A good chance for Canada, and a showcase of Davies' talents. 


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Angel Di Maria does well, hassling Derek Cornelius and forcing the Canada defender to concede a throw-in. 

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Big chance Argentina!

Messi whips the ball out to Acuna on the left of the box, drawing Crepeau out from his goal. The Canadian keeper misjudged it terribly and watches on as Acuna plays a low ball across the empty goal. 

Fortunately for Canada, there is no one there to convert. 

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Canada are starting to battle their way back into this now, making it difficult for Argentina to build through the zones. 

Good work from David and Larin - the strike duo - to prevent the Argentinian progress. 

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It's Davies who takes but he thumps the ball into the defensive wall. 

Into Rodrigo De Paul, specifically. The midfielder may need a few minutes to recover form that one. 

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Canada win another free kick, this time on the edge of the Argentina box. It was clumsy from Acuna on Larin.

The kick is about 25 yards out, a nice spot for Alphonso Davies...

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Jonathan David goes down after a tough challenge from Rodrigo De Paul. The Canadian wins the free kick, midway inside his own half. 

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Twenty minutes in, both teams will be fairly happy so far. 

Argentina will be pleased to have dominated the ball and created some chances. Canada will be delighted that they haven't conceded. 

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Cyle Larin is a bit late with a tackle on Paredes on the edge of the Argentina box. The midfielder is down. 

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Messi chance!

A neat pass from Di Maria threads the ball through to Messi in the box. He spins and aims for the far corner but his shot is blocked by a recovering defender. 

Good defending from Canada so far. 

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Good combination work from Argentina gets Molina away on the right wing but he can't quite make space for a cross. Liam Miller does well to get back and block. 

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First chance for Angel Di Maria to really run at the defence but he checks back inside. Argentina spread to ball out to Acuna on the far wing instead. 

Patient build-up play from the holders. 

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The pace of the game has slowed slightly from that frantic spell. 

Argentina are taking control of the game, knocking the ball around confidently at the back. 

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Canada have done fairly well but those two chances are a real sign of the quality that Argentina possess. 

One misplaced pass, one poor touch, and they're through the heart of you. They might not miss the next one. 

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Messi chance!

Argentina go close again! Messi picks up the ball on the edge of the box and shifts it onto his left foot, but drags his shot just wide of the post. 

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First big chance of the game fell to Argentina but Maxime Crepeau did brilliantly to get out quickly. He'll need to have a good game to give his team a chance today. 

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End-to-end stuff!

Incredible! The corner kick nearly falls to Buchannan but Argentina clear and go straight on the attack, Di Maria is through on goal but Crepeau makes a sharp save!

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And Canada force a corner kick!

The first of the game, Davies is across to take it...

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Few nice touches for Canada now, who have not been intimidated by the occasion.

Neat spin from Ismael Kone in the midfield to draw a foul from Paredes. 

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Canada are trying to tempt Argentina into a high-press, risky play from Jesse Marsch's side. The new head coach is clearly keen to impart his own style of play. 

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Good work from Di Maria to work the ball out to Acuna on the left. The fullback twists and turns on the flank before playing it back to Paredes, who shoots narrowly over the crossbar from 30 yards. 

Crepeau looked fairly comfortable with that one. 

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We can see from the off that Lionel Messi is playing as a central striker, with Alvarez and Di Maria buzzing around him. 

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Julian Alvarez looks to latch onto a long ball over the top but catches the Canada defender as he runs through. Free kick to Canada. 

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Canada start off on the attack, looking to get Johnson into space on the right but the pass is a little overhit. 

Goal kick Argentina.

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And we're off!

The 2024 Copa America has officially begun!

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We're nearly ready for the off now, the teams are out and the stands are packed. 

There's an incredible atmosphere in Atlanta for this tournament opener. Let's hope the on-field action lives up to it...

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Why is the 2024 Copa América played in the US?

With the official business now completed, we're onto the national anthems. 

As a side note, wondering why this year's Copa America is being played in the United States? Here's why...

Copa America venue

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And the teams are out!

The two teams and match officials take to the field in Atlanta, Georgia in preparation for this opening game of the 2024 Copa America. 

There's a huge roar as they emerge from the tunnel, followed by a little bit of glad-handing from the usual dignitaries. FIFA boss Gianni Infantino is among them. 

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Will this be Lionel Messi's final tournament?

Argentina captain Lionel Messi will undoubtedly be one of the players to watch this summer, in what could well be his last ever international competition. The Inter Miami star is the reigning Ballon d’Or winner but, as he prepares to turn 37 next month, is no longer the player that he once was.

In a recent interview Messi admitted that he is unsure if he will be able to feature in the 2026 World Cup, admitting that it will depend on his fitness coming into that summer. He has been able to ration his gametime since moving to MLS last summer but he was played well over 1,000 professional games already.

This could well be Lionel Messi’s ‘Last Dance’ with this talented generation of Argentinian players.

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Kun Aguero brings out the Copa America trophy

OK, this one you should know. 

Former Manchester City and Argentina striker Sergio ' Kun' Aguero is the next one to take to the field, carrying the Copa America trophy. He gets a very appreciative roar of support from the crowd, many of whom seem to be Argentinian.

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Who is CAPITAN? the Copa América 2024 mascot

And now, the 2024 Copa America mascot takes to the field! It's a giant red bird-man, flapping about among the dancers. 

Wondering what it all means? Once again, we've got you covered...


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Copa América opening ceremony performer: Who is Feid?

Wondering who Feid, or Ferxxo, is?

We've got you covered...

Who is Feid?

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It's Feid! AKA Ferxxo

The Colombian singer is currently on his US - Canada tour and dropped by Atlanta for tonight's show. With his trademark sunglasses on, he's putting on quite the show..

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And the opening ceremony is underway!

Dancers take to the field. Flags, flashing lights, drummers. And the main event...

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Messi's Copa America goals and assists

Lionel Messi's incredible Copa America record

Considering that he was previously criticised for not performing for the national team, Lionel Messi's Copa America record with Argentina is pretty good. 

With his appearance tonight he becomes the competition's all-time record appearance-maker and he's just four goals away from the scoring record. You certainly wouldn't rule it out...

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Argentina's No. 1 supporter takes in the scene

Former Atletico Madrid and Manchester City striker Sergio 'Kun' Aguero was one of the best forwards of his generation, before being forced to retire due to a heart condition. Instead of wallowing in his retirement, he has become a full-time supporter of the Argentina national team, notably sharing a room with Lionel Messi during the 2022 World Cup triumph. 

Aguero is here again tonight, is that a good omen for La Albiceleste?

William Gittins
Sold out for Argentina - Canada as Leo Messi takes on Alphonso Davies

It's the opening night of the 2024 Copa America and there will not be a spare seat in the house as Argentina take on Canada. Games this this will always draw huge crowds but, with Lionel Messi leading the line for Argentina, the demand soars even higher.

Argentina - Canada tickets

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One to watch: Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies, the Bayern Munich flier, is typically given a fairly free role on the left flank for Canada. His pace and attacking quality with be a major outlet, and something that will cause any defence at the tournament problems.

The 23-year-old had a difficult season with Bayern but he is a consistent performer for the national team and wore the captain’s armband in a recent game against the Netherlands. He retains the armband tonight, a real sign of trust from new boss Jesse Marsch.

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And here's how Canada line up this evening...

There are plenty of exciting players in this Canada team but, in terms of elite-level talent, there are two that stand above the rest; Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David.

Davies and David will shoulder most of Canada’s attacking responsibilities and will be under pressure to perform ahead of the 2026 World Cup on home turf. Here’s a look at Canada’s two top players…

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Confirmed Argentina lineup to face Canada!

Here we go! As reported earlier, this is how the world champions will start their 2024 Copa America journey. Few surprises in the team, which bears a striking resemblance to the one that lifted the world cup 18 months ago. 

Angel Di Maria and Julian Alvarez start alongside Lionel Messi in attack. 

William Gittins

Messi scenes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

There's a huge Argentinian support in Atlanta, Georgia for today's Copa America opener. Wherever they play, Argentina always pack stadiums but in recent year's their global popularity has been taken to even greater heights. 

Expect to see blue and white shirts all over the stands today, and that famous No. 10 jersey is proving very popular. 

William Gittins
How many times have Argentina won the Copa América? Full tournament record

They are the pre-tournament favourites, reigning champions and one of the most decorated nations in international soccer. But how successful have Argentina been across the history of Copa America? 

Unsurprisingly, they've done pretty well over the years...

How many times have Argentina won Copa America?

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Lionel Messi in the house!

He's won it all, but Lionel Messi will be desperate to add another international triumph with the Argentina national team. Messi already boasts a very impressive record in this tournament. During his six previous Copa Americas Lionel Messi has scored 13 goals, enough to league him just four away from Brazil’s Zizinho and Leo’s compatriot Norberto Méndez at the top of the all-time rankings.

Few would bet against him breaking the scoring record this tournament and he is already on the cusp of another piece of history. He is level with Chile’s Sergio Livingstone at the top of the appearance chart, with 34 each. As soon as Messi takes to the field on Thursday, he will be out on his own as the record-holder.

William Gittins
Canada will be expected to compete this summer.

Canada will be expected to compete this summer. / CANMNT / CANMNT

Jesse Marsh takes charge of talented Canada team

Nearly a year had passed since Canada parted ways with former head coach John Herdman last August. The team had drifted slightly, without a full-time head coach in charge, but last month they unveiled former RB Leipzig and Leeds United boss Jesse Marsh as their ‘MLS Canada Men’s National Team Head Coach’.

Yep, that’s right. Due to a rather desperate call for funding to Canada’s three MLS clubs the national team head coach will bear the name of the United States’ soccer league. It’s not ideal, but they have at least managed to secure the services of a leader with real prestige to lead this talented generation.

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Canadian supporters making themselves heard

There's plenty of Canadian confidence heading into the tournament.

They may have needed a play-in victory over Trinidad and Tobago to book their place at the 2024 Copa America but there is real hope for this talented group of players. After so many failed attempt this Canadian side has now made it to the finals of a major tournament for the second time in as many years and will compete at the 2026 World Cup as co-hosts.

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Argetina lineup unveiled!

Here it is! Not yet official but respected Argentina reporter Roy Nemer has shared this post of the Argentina starting XI for tonight's game. 

As I say, not yet confirmed by the federation but this is how we can expect La Albiceleste to line up tonight...

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Argentina aware of the challenge

"We are talking about things that have already passed. [Winning the World Cup and the Copa America] was very nice but it's over… Football matches are all different, there are no easier games than others. A lot of things can happen. The difficulty of France, Brazil or Canada can be the same."

Lionel Scaloni, Argentina head coach

"It will be a difficult Copa America as always, we are prepared for what is to come. We are doing well, with clear ideas and knowing the difficulty of this tournament."

Lionel Scaloni, Argentina head coach
The Argentina head coach goes in search of more titles

The Argentina head coach goes in search of more titles / HECTOR VIVAS / Getty Images via AFP

Lionel Scaloni's incredible Argentina career

Lionel Scaloni had precious little coaching experience when, in the dark days of 2018, he was named interim head coach of the Argentina national team. After being derided by Argentina legend Diego Maradona as “unqualified”, Scaloni led the team to a barely acceptable third-place in the 2019 Copa America, before his tenure really got going to years later.

His team clinched the 2021 Copa America, beating Brazil in the final and bringing Argentina’s first international trophy in 28 years. They went on to lift the World Cup 18 months later, but Scaloni knows that all that success is now in the past.

William Gittins

Canadian confidence ahead of Copa opener

They may be the outsider for this opening night fixture, but the Canadian contingent is full of confidence ahead of the clash against Argentina. Can Jesse Marsch's team pull off a shock against the tournament favourites?

William Gittins
The 2024 Copa América opening ceremony: performers, artists, events, schedule...

Tonight's match sees world champions Argentina take on Copa America newbies Canada, but that's not all we've got in store.

As it's the first game of the 2024 Copa America we'll be starting off with an opening ceremony from Atlanta, Georgia. Here's what you can expect to see...

Copa America opening ceremony

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Argentina ready for Copa America kick-off

It's the calm before the storm in the Argentina locker room, where Lionel Scaloni's world champions are preparing start their Copa America journey. 

We'll have team news from Atlanta as soon as possible, watch this space...

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What is the official song of the Copa América 2024 and who sings it?

Every international tournament has it's own vibe, a particular style and atmosphere that is unique to that one edition. A key part of the myth-making - along with the players, the team and goals - is the official tournament song

Here's what we know about this year's track...

Copa America official song

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Who plays today in Copa America 2024? June 20: games, times, TV, schedule

Wondering what's on the schedule for today's Copa America? Thursday is the opening night of action but we'll be publishing one of these handy guides every day to keep you up to date on everything going on in the world of Copa America...

Who plays today in Copa America?

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Canada prepare for Copa America debut

This is the first time that Canada have competed in Copa America, traditionally a South American-only tournament, and it's fair to say that they have a tough ask from the start. 

They take on the reigning world champions, Argentina, but there's plenty of reason to think that they could cause some problems. They have Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, two incredibly talented attackers with impressive records in European soccer. 

They boast a new head coach, former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch, and will undoubtedly benefit from his elite-level experience and high-octane style of play. Marsch only took over the job last month so has had little time to impart his ideas but he has plenty of talent to work with. 

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Argentina go in search of a third consecutive international title

It's difficult to think know, but the proud sporting nation of Argentina once went 28 years without winning a major trophy in soccer. The nation's main sport - it's obsession - had brought so much joy for so many years but that winning sensation deserted Argentinians until surprisingly recently. 

Under rookie head coach Lionel Scaloni Argentina finally ended their drought in 2021 with the Copa America. It was the first major trophy for Lionel Messi in an Argentina jersey and the team has certainly developed a taste for the high life. 

In 2022 Messi led his team to the World Cup, securing a thrilling penalty shoot-out victory over France in the final. Messi was named the tournament's best player two years ago but, now aged 36, knows that this summer's Copa America could be his final international tournament. 

William Gittins

Copa America starts here!

We're beginning our coverage for Argentina - Canada well in advance so we can bring you full build-up of tonight's game, along with that all-important team news from the Mercedez-Benz Stadium as soon as we can. 

First up, we'll take a look at the two teams involved in tonight's Copa America curtain-raiser...

William Gittins

Finally, the waiting is over. 

The time for action is now upon us as 16 of the best teams from right across the Americas compete to be crowned champions of the 2024 Copa America.

This year's tournament, held in the United States, is a little different to the norm with a number of non-CONMEBOL teams invited to compete. One of them, Canada, plays in tonight's opening game against reigning champions Argentina

I'm Will Gittins, US soccer reporter for AS USA, and I'll be bringing you every second of the action from tonight's tournament opener as Lionel Messi goes in hunt for a historic third consecutive international title.

Stay tuned, this will be a good one...