Bryson DeChambeau says winning the 2024 U.S. Open proves he can win more majors as he prepares for The Open Championship.

The American profited from Rory McIlroy's late collapse at Pinehurst, snatching the victory by a single stroke.

It was his second major win, having also won the U.S. Open in 2020, while he also finished as a runner-up at the PGA Championship and in the top 10 at The Masters this year.

However, DeChambeau has only finished inside the top 30 once in six tries at The Open - in 2022 - though he is aiming to change that at Royal Troon this week, drawing confidence from his recent success.

"2020 [U.S. Open] was a bit of me showing that I could do it," DeChambeau said. "It's always difficult to get that first major win.

"The second one [2024] was more about cementing my own comfort levels of knowing I can do it again and again. That's really cool.

"I can give myself more runs at majors... I've obviously played well at a lot of them this year."

DeChambeau finished tied in 60th place at The Open last year, his worst finish at the major.

He boasts the strongest form going into the tournament and is confident he can maintain that to put him in the running for the trophy.

"If I play well this week, I think I can give myself a good chance obviously," he added.

"I'm very confident, but it all depends on if I'm striking it well. I can come in here with the most confidence, off of a major championship win, but really what matters if I can continue to drive the ball as well as I have and continue to strike my irons the way I know I can and putt like I can. If I do those things well, I'll give myself a good chance.

"I know how to get the job done, it's just a matter of whether I'm as consistent as what I was at the U.S. Open."

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Teoscar Hernandez edged local product Bobby Witt Jr. of the Kansas City Royals in the final round to win MLB's 2024 Home Run Derby on Monday night. 

Hernandez had 14 homers in the final to hold off Witt, who grew up just minutes from the Texas Rangers' home stadium of Globe Life Field, the site of Monday's event as well as Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Witt just missed tying Hernandez on his final swing, but his last attempt hit the base of the wall in center field to give Hernandez the title.

Hernandez also narrowly advanced in the semifinals by winning a swing-off with Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm after both players finished their rounds with 14 homers. Each then received three additional swings, with Hernandez hitting two more homers to Bohm's one.

The 31-year-old Hernandez became the first Dodgers player to win the Home Run Derby. Joc Pederson reached the finals at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park in 2015 but was defeated by the Reds' Todd Frazier. 

Witt advanced to the finals by outperforming Cleveland Guardians star Jose Ramirez 17-12 in the second round and finished the event with 50 homers, one more than Hernandez's three-round total of 49.

The young shortstop was bidding to win the title at a venue located less than 20 miles from his hometown of Colleyville, Texas. Witt's father, Bobby Sr., pitched 11 seasons for the Rangers over two separate stints in the 1980s and '90s.

Pete Alonso's attempt to match Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three-time Home Run Derby champion came to an early end, as the New York Mets slugger recorded just 12 homers in the first round and failed to advance. Alonso won the event in 2019 and defended his crown in 2021 after the 2020 edition was not held due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Adolis Garcia of the host Rangers also had an early exit after hitting 18 homers in the opening round, one fewer than Hernandez for the fourth and final spot in the semifinals. Bohm and Ramirez had the most homers in the first round with 21 each, while Witt advanced by hitting 20.

Also eliminated in the first round were Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson and Atlanta Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna.

Henderson's 28 home runs this season were the most of this year's participants, but the 2023 American League Rookie of the Year had the lowest total (11) in the first round. Ozuna managed 16 homers after entering the Derby with 26 for the season, the second-highest total behind Henderson.

 

 

Gareth Southgate will likely leave England with his last game as the Euro 2024 final defeat, according to former Three Lions talisman Alan Shearer.

England suffered another European Championship heartbreak on Sunday, falling to Mikel Oyarzbal's 86th-minute winner in Berlin as Spain snatched a deserved 2-1 victory.

Southgate's side are the first side in history to lose consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first boss to ever suffer defeat in two European Championship showpieces.

With Southgate's current contract ending in December, speculation remains rife over his future with reports linking Eddie Howe, Graham Potter and Mauricio Pochettino as potential replacements.

Shearer, a former England team-mate of Southgate, believes the Spain defeat may mark his last at the helm of the national side.

"My guess is – and it is only a guess – he may now say to someone else that it is their turn to try to get England over the line," Shearer wrote in his BBC Sport column.

"If he does, then he has put the team in an excellent position for someone to take the team forward, to take that next step and win a major tournament."

Southgate transformed England's fortunes, steadying the ship to take them to unprecedented ground in the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and the Euros finals in back-to-back editions.

"Gareth came in and put a smile on everyone's faces – bringing the squad together," the former Newcastle United striker added.

"He put the team in a much better position mentally and the spirit he nurtured helped us get to the final again.

"For achieving all of those things he deserves a huge amount of respect and gratitude, but it's just unfortunate that – for all his excellent work – Gareth just wasn't quite able to get the best out of this team in Germany, and that was the difference between us reaching another final and winning one."

With the World Cup to follow in 2026, a new era may await England, who must bounce back once more after another setback on the biggest stage.

Regardless of who takes charge in that tournament, Shearer insists Southgate should be proud of his achievements.

"Gareth will be hurting like hell after what happened in Berlin but my feeling is that, when the dust settles on the final of Euro 2024, he will decide he's had enough," Southgate's Euro 1996 team-mate said.

"It should be his decision to stay or go – and I think it will be – but it is a tiring job and he has been doing it for a long time.

"If he does leave, he should go with his head held high because England are in a completely different place now compared to where they were when he took over in 2016."

Saul Niguez has moved from Atletico Madrid on loan to Sevilla with the option of an extension after the 2024-25 campaign.

Both LaLiga clubs confirmed the transfer agreement on Monday, with each side referencing the "possibility of an extension" past the upcoming season.

The 29-year-old has started just 25 La Liga games across the last two seasons for Atletico, who are reportedly keen to reduce their expenditure on their first-team squad salary.

Reports in Spain suggest the midfielder has a three-year offer from league rivals Sevilla, though a complex transfer means the deal cannot be described as a purchase option with the possibility of a return to Atletico.

Saul made 49 appearances for Diego Simeone's men last season, though starts were limited as Atletico finished fourth in the Spanish top flight.

He has been capped 19 times by Spain and made 23 appearances for Chelsea, his last loan spell in the 2022-23 season before returning to Simeone's team.

Saul's addition marks the fourth arrival in Andalusia, with Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga also loaned, along with moves for Chidera Ejuke and Peque Fernandez.

The 2024 Olympics will be an unforgettable experience for the ten winners of the Red Stripe “Guh fi Gold & Glory” promotion.

From May 1 to June 28, Red Stripe rolled out a series of promotional events in support of the upcoming Olympic Games, from which 10 consumers have secured a unique opportunity to enjoy the Games live from the Stade de France in Paris.

To enter the promotion, consumers had to purchase six Red Stripes and send in their receipt via WhatsApp.

Out of the scores of people that entered, Samanthia Gordon, Solomon Hutchinson, Andre Davis, Nicola Bryce, Deborah Cole, Delroy Lee Rose, Princess Hibbert, Osbert Bailey, Johnell Benson and Danielle McKenzie were the lucky ten competition winners.

An additional 11 people from Red Stripe as well as various sister companies as well as customers will also be making the trip.

On Saturday, July 13, the winners, as well as others who will make the trip as part of Red Stripe’s contingent, were on hand at the company for a special handover event and celebration.

Two of the promotion winners, McKenzie and Rose, expressed excitement at the prospect of going to the Olympics.

“I’m very excited. I can’t wait to see the country and the attractions and, obviously, to cheer on team Jamaica,” McKenzie told Sportsmax.tv.

Danielle McKenzie collecting her travel kit from Red Stripe Brand Manager, Nathan Nelms.

“Ecstatic,” was Rose’s response, noting that this will be his very first time travelling out the country.

“I will fully enjoy it. I thank Red Stripe because, out of all the people to enter, to be selected must be a divine intervention. I’ll be a proud representative of Jamaica,” he added.

Delroy Lee Rose.

The winners were also gifted with travel kits including items like branded shirts, jackets and cups as well as pot covers and vuvuzelas that will surely be used to cheer on the team in Paris.

Brand Manager for Red Stripe, Nathan Nelms, gave Sportsmax.tv insight into the motivation behind this initiative for the company.

“We really wanted to give our consumers a taste of the celebrations that will be happening in Paris. We are sure everybody locally will be watching on TV to cheer on team Jamaica, however, we wanted to give a very small group the opportunity to see the team live in Paris and give them an experience of a lifetime,” he said.

“We’ve come a long way since our signing of a big partnership with the Jamaica Olympic Association back in 2023. We’ve done so much to make sure that there is this rally cry that is built for the Jamaica Olympic Team,” he added.

In addition to getting to view the Olympics live, the winners will be given tours of various attractions in the French capital including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

Athletics at the Olympic Games will take place from August 1-11.

Erik ten Hag slammed Manchester United as "by far not good enough" after their shock friendly defeat to Rosenborg on Monday.

The Red Devils suffered a late 1-0 loss at Lerkendal Stadion after Noah Holm's 93rd-minute winner.

An underwhelming performance in their first pre-season game was in stark contrast to their last outing before that, a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Rosenborg were denied by the woodwork on four separate occasions while attempting 22 shots to United's meagre five.

Ten Hag started the likes of Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Mount, leaving the United boss somewhat furious with their efforts in Trondheim.

"The result is not secondary. We play pre-season but at Manchester United, there's a standard," said Ten Hag to MUTV after the game.

"You win games. Definitely, you don't lose games. If you can't win, don't lose the game as we did at the end, the last second of the game.

"The performance is more important. The performance was below standard."

Radek Vitek, United's 20-year-old goalkeeper, was forced into seven saves in a one-sided pre-season meeting as the only Red Devils player to impress.

"Let's say he got the opportunity from the team to make some very good saves because our performance as a team is by far not good enough," Ten Hag responded when asked about Vitek's showing.

"I have seen this is not the standard for top football. Top football, you have to achieve much higher standards. It starts with any individual, make sure you are fit.

"I know we can't be match fit in this moment, therefore, you need these games. I know we are playing an opponent who are in their league, they have a much higher fitness level.

"But still we are Man Utd and players and teams from Man Utd must perform better."

Ten Hag's only credit from the game was placed on the youngsters who came on at half-time in wholesale changes.

"They always listen, they try to transfer. We didn't succeed today," the Dutchman said of his younger players.

"But the attitude, they want to transfer the coaching play model, they are always willing to do it. But it is clear today we didn't transfer it to the pitch."

Brian Harman is certain of his capabilities to defend The Open Championship trophy at Royal Troon, where the American expects crowd heckling to calm down after last year's incidents.

Harman clinched a maiden major title last year at Royal Liverpool after coasting to a six-shot victory for his first PGA Tour triumph in six years.

The world number 13 hopes to reunite with the famed Claret Jug in Scotland, though expects the course – and the spectators – to pose a different challenge to last year's success.

Harman described the abuse as "unrepeatable", with many mocking his pre-shot routines and heckling in an all-round attempt to put off the soon-to-be champion.

"It doesn't bother me," Harman told Monday's pre-tournament press conference when asked about the incidents at the 151st Open.

"I'm ready to take whatever in my stride. I'm here to play the best golf that I possibly can. That's my main focus.

"I've always loved the fans over here. I've spoken a bunch of times about how I find them the most knowledgeable fans of any that we play in front of.

"I kind of chalk last year up as more of an anomaly than anything else."

The 37-year-old finished tied for 21st in the Scottish Open, a warm-up event for the major at Royal Troon, but has three top-10 finishes in the PGA Tour in 2024.

Having shared fifth place at The Sentry, second at the Players Championship and ninth in the Travelers Championship, Harman is in decent form.

He is now looking to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008 to win back-to-back Open titles.

"Anytime that you become a major champion it certainly elevates your status in the game, elevates the way that you're perceived in the game," Harman added.

"I try to take all of that in my stride, but at the same time understand that the golf is the most important thing, and I've tried to improve my golf game and get it in a place where I can maybe contend in some more majors down the road.

"My stats this year have been really good. My ball striking has been as good as it's ever been. The only thing I haven't done well this year is I haven't putted especially well. So I'm just kind of waiting for it all to line up correctly.

"You can work and work and work. You just never know when that work is going to pay off. You never know when the peak is coming, when you're going to catch a little bit of momentum.

England responding to their Euro 2024 heartbreak with success in the future will taste "even sweeter", according to Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.

The England Women's star launched a staunch defence of Gareth Southgate's men's side after their 2-1 defeat in the European Championship final to Spain.

Southgate's Three Lions are the first side in history to lose two consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first to suffer defeat in two separate showpieces of the tournament.

Having lost the Women's World Cup final to Spain last year, Williamson can somewhat relate, but reminded England supporters of the good times under Southgate, whose future remains uncertain.

"Devastated, especially knowing some of them personally as well," Williamson told reporters ahead of Tuesday's clash with Sweden in qualifying for the Women's European Championship in 2025.

"What Gareth and his team have done over the last three, four years, reaching finals and bringing that dream closer to reality, we are very lucky as fans of England, men's and women's, to be in the position that we're in.

"They didn't quite get over the line to a fantastic Spanish team, I know they'll be devastated about it, it will take a while for them to get over it.

"But us as a country, we've been blessed with incredible tournaments. And when those wins come, which I do believe they will, then they'll be even sweeter."

England Women's boss Sarina Wiegman led her side to Euro 2022 glory against Germany before the agony against Spain the following year.

Therefore, Wiegman knows all too well about suffering from setbacks.

"Takes about three weeks, it took me three weeks to get over it," an honest Wiegman said on how Southgate and Co. will recover.

"It's very hard ... when you have given your everything, then you hope you win and when you don't, you are really disappointed.

"But then you start thinking: Okay, did we get everything out of ourselves? Did we do everything that we could that was in our control?

"And then you have to accept it. It's easier to accept a win than to accept a loss but yeah, for me that takes it took a while."

The Baltimore Orioles' Corbin Burnes will take the ball first for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game in Texas.

AL manager Bruce Bochy revealed Burnes will get the start when he announced the lineup Monday for the Mid-Summer Classic.

Burnes is 9-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 110 strikeouts over 118 2/3 innings in 19 starts in his first season with the Orioles. His ERA is the third lowest in baseball.

Acquired by Baltimore from the Milwaukee Brewers just before spring training, the 29-year-old right-hander is an All-Star for a fourth straight season.

Burnes, who won the 2021 NL Cy Young Award, becomes the fifth Orioles pitcher to start an All-Star Game, and first since Steve Stone in 1980.

 

Burnes will be opposed by Pittsburgh Pirates rookie star Paul Skenes, who was named the starter for the National League team last week by manager Torey Lovullo.

Skenes, who is 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA in 11 starts, made his major league debut on May 11, and becomes the fifth rookie to start the All-Star Game, and first since Hideo Nomo in 1995.

Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte will leadoff for the NL team, followed by Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, Phillies shortstop Trea Turner and first baseman Bryce Harper, Brewers catcher William Contreras and right fielder Christian Yelich, Philadelphia third baseman Alex Bohm, Dodgers center fielder Teoscar Hernández and Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar.

Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan, who leads all of baseball with .352 batting average, will bat first for the AL, followed by Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson, Yankees right fielder Juan Soto and center fielder Aaron Judge, Astros designed hitter Yordan Alvarez, Guardians shortstop José Ramírez, Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman and Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien.

Rory McIlroy insists his U.S. Open capitulation is behind him as he aims to respond at The Open Championship, backed by support from two sporting stars.

The Northern Irishman collapsed in remarkable fashion at Pinehurst, missing two simple putts as Bryson DeChambeau sneaked in to profit and win the major.

Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal and NBA legend Michael Jordan both reached out to McIlroy in the aftermath of that disappointment.

The 35-year-old has now racked up four runners-up finishes in majors since his last such victory at the PGA Championship in 2014.

Yet McIlroy is intent on responding when The Open returns at Royal Troon this week.

"Rafa Nadal and Michael Jordan," McIlroy told The Guardian. "Two of the most unbelievable competitors that have ever been in sport.

"MJ was maybe the first person to text me after I missed the putt on the 18th but both of them got in touch very, very quickly. They just told me to keep going. MJ reminded me of how many game-winning shots he missed. Really nice."

The four-time major champion scored bogeys on three of his final four holes during his U.S. Open downfall.

"Was it a great opportunity to win a major? Absolutely," McIlroy added of his short-putting nightmare. "It hurt and in the moment it was tough, terrible.

"I'd say people would be surprised to see how quickly I got over it and moved on."

McIlroy subsequently took a short break before returning at the Scottish Open last week, finishing tied for fourth place at the Renaissance Club.

"Maybe the one drawback from me not talking [to media] afterwards was that you got three weeks of speculation," McIlroy said, referring to his swift exit at Pinehurst. 

"He should have done this, should have done that but we will never know because he didn't say. I trust the people around me. I don't need to go looking for external counsel.

"If the tournament ended after 68 holes, people would be calling me the best golfer in the world. You have to be an eternal optimist. Say you play 25 events a year and win three of those. You are one of the best players in history. We lose way more than we win.

"Yes, I was in a great winning position and should have won but it's not the first time I have let something slip away. It's probably not going to be the last.

"You have to look at it on the continuum. It was tough but it is one tournament, I play 23-25 per year. You have to keep going.

"The great thing about this game is you have an opportunity to get back on the horse right after a tough loss. You try to learn from it and do better next time."

Olivier Giroud has sent an emotional message to France's players and supporters after his international career came to an end at Euro 2024.

Giroud had already confirmed he would retire from international football after the tournament in Germany, where France underwhelmed en route to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Spain.

The striker – who has agreed to join MLS outfit Los Angeles FC after leaving Milan – only played 59 minutes in four appearances at Euro 2024, all of them as a substitute.

He scored 57 goals in 137 appearances for Les Bleus, putting him clear of Thierry Henry (51) and Kylian Mbappe (48) in his country's all-time scoring charts.

In a statement posted to X on Monday, exactly six years after he helped France win the 2018 World Cup, Giroud wrote: "The dreaded moment has arrived: that of saying goodbye to the France team. 

"What a pride to wear this blue jersey and to represent France. By joining this team, I found a second family with the players and the staff. 

"We have always supported each other, we have experienced joy and disappointment, victories and defeats, laughter and tears but were always united and supportive.

"My career with the France team has not always been a smooth ride. I doubted sometimes, I also suffered from criticism but deep down, I never stopped believing.

"From now on, I become the number one supporter of Les Bleus. This France team that I served for 13 years will remain forever engraved in my heart. It is my greatest pride and my most beautiful memory."

 Ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, legendary Olympian and the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, has produced an anthem for Team Jamaica, titled “Jamaica All The Way." The timely track aims to rally the nation, capturing the indomitable spirit of Jamaicans as its athletes prepare to compete on the world stage in Paris.

As the newly announced Red Stripe Ambassador, Bolt is at the forefront of the celebrations for the beer giant's Olympic campaign, ‘Guh Fi Gold and Glory.’ The campaign seeks to unite Jamaicans in support of their athletes, reminding them that the ‘likkle but tallawah’ island is cheering them on.

“Jamaica All The Way” features collaborations with musical sensations Busy Signal, who headlined the 2022 Red Stripe independence song “Big Up Jamaica,” and Shaneil Muir. Their combined talents are set to amplify the cheers of Jamaicans everywhere.

“The Olympics represent a moment of pure joy, and I want our athletes to feel the support of all Jamaicans. This song celebrates their dedication and hard work. I produced it to encourage them to believe in themselves and dream big when they ‘Guh Fi Gold and Glory,’ knowing they have infinite support,” said the Fastest Man Alive, Usain Bolt.

With the Paris 2024 Olympics approaching quickly, from July 26 to August 11, the song has already been released on all streaming platforms, ensuring that Jamaican athletes can feel support at home and from the diaspora.

President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda highlighted the importance of this collaboration, stating, “There is no better way to celebrate the Paris 2024 Olympic Games than with Usain capturing the infectious beat of dancehall, the inspired spirit of our people, and our aspiration to be the greatest versions of humanity. When the JOA and Red Stripe team up with lightning Bolt, it can only be electrifying and volcanic! Paris, stay tuned!”

As the nation gets ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the partnership between the Jamaica Olympic Association and Red Stripe shows how culture can bring people together and boost the spirits of our athletes.

“Although we can't invite every Jamaican to travel to Paris and cheer for our athletes in person, our ‘Guh fi Gold and Glory’ campaign allows us to create opportunities for Jamaicans to show their support for our athletes both locally and globally. This song serves as a rallying cry, highlighting our unity and commitment to competing as a united team,” Red Stripe Brand Manager Nathan Nelms, emphasised.

As Team Jamaica prepares to shine on the track in Paris, “Jamaica All The Way” is set to inspire, motivate, and encourage them to reach new heights of glory at the 2024 Olympics.

Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz does not believe his convincing final victory over Novak Djokovic marks the start of a new era for tennis.

Alcaraz clinched his second Wimbledon title – and his fourth at grand slams overall – in mesmerising fashion on Sunday, thrashing seven-time champion Djokovic in straight sets.

The Spaniard needed just 73 minutes to take the first two sets before being pushed closer in the third, ultimately winning 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

Djokovic – who turned 37 in May – could now go a full calendar year without a major title for just the second time since 2010, and the first since 2017.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, is the third-youngest man to win back-to-back Wimbledon titles in the Open Era (21 years, 70 days), older only than Boris Becker (18 years, 227 days, 1985-86) and Bjorn Borg (21 years, 26 days, 1976-77).

However, asked by Spanish publication AS whether he was the figurehead of a new era for the sport, Alcaraz said: "I don't really feel that way. 

"I've seen a lot of people who have said it's a generational change, a new era, a changing of the guard after Sunday's match, but in the end I don't see it that way. 

"We try to work as hard as possible to put Djokovic in trouble, to try to be there as many times as we can, but I don't feel that there is a change of era, a generational change or a changing of the guard, not at the moment."

Sunday was a great day for Spanish sport as Luis de la Fuente's football team beat England 2-1 in the Euro 2024 final, with substitute Mikel Oyarzabal netting the winner.

Alcaraz believes the performances of 17-year-old Lamine Yamal and 22-year-old Nico Williams point to a bright future for football, and sport in general, in Spain.

"When I finished my game I had a message from [Alvaro] Morata, who is the one I talk to the most, the one I get along with the best," he revealed. 

"One of the first people I called in the dressing room was him, who was walking to the stadium before playing the final. I wished him all the luck in the world. 

"Lamine, Nico are 17, 22-year-old boys, who have made the difference in this European Championship. It was the first time they played with the national team. 

"They have done it in an incredible way. It's great to see new players in Spain who fight like them, who give their all for the flag, for the country. 

"I think it's wonderful to have a national team and young athletes who are pointing the way, who are going up. Hopefully we will have many years of enjoyment."

 

Argentina are Copa America champions once again.

They were the pre-tournament favourites according to Opta's supercomputer, and they lived up to the billing in the United States, retaining their title and winning the Copa America for a record 16th time.

Lionel Scaloni's team beat Colombia 1-0 in Sunday's final, despite Lionel Messi going off injured and in tears, with Lautaro Martinez sealing victory in extra time.

Martinez was one of the standout positives from the Copa America, but who were the others, and which teams and players failed to impress?

THE TOPS

Argentina

Let's start with the champions. They won the Copa America while only conceding one goal in their six matches, with Scaloni's success built on a mean defence, rather than just the magic of Messi.

Indeed, Messi's magic was in somewhat short supply. He was a creative fulcrum in Argentina's opening win over Canada, and then scored his only goal of the tournament against Jesse Marsch's team in a semi-final reunion, but injuries plagued his campaign.

He was in tears as he made his way to the bench in Sunday's final, but nevertheless bowed out of what will surely be his final Copa America as a back-to-back champion.

Argentina were not always pretty, but with the now-retired Angel Di Maria and Golden Boot winner Martinez picking up the slack, along with Emiliano Martinez in fine form between the sticks, they got the job done.

Lautaro Martinez

Argentina's hero was not Messi in the end, but instead it was Martinez, who completed something of a redemption arc after he endured a poor World Cup on a personal level in Qatar, where he failed to convert any of his 14 attempts at goal.

Indeed, Martinez headed into the Copa America without having scored for Argentina in World Cup 2026 qualifying, and he was not going to be a regular starter.

Well, he wasn't a regular starter, playing only 221 minutes, but he scored five times to clinch the Golden Boot, matching the best tally by Argentine players at the Copa America since the turn of the century (Messi in 2016, Juan Roman Riquelme in 2007).

Martinez scored every 44 minutes on average, having 11 shots and outperforming his 3.26 xG.

 

James Rodriguez

Messi might have been unable to take a starring role, but James Rodriguez ensured there was one number 10 who took centre-stage at this edition of the tournament.

James was not picked for Colombia's squad in 2021, yet he has been made his team's main man again by Nestor Lorenzo, who was rewarded by some quite sensational displays.

The 33-year-old provided six assists, breaking the record Messi set in 2021 (five), while creating a tournament-leading 20 chances, six more than any other player.

James wanted the ultimate prize, but ultimately had to settle with being named the Copa America Player of the Tournament.

 

Marcelo Bielsa

El Loco is back in business, and even though Uruguay didn't reach the final, falling short in the semis, they are a team moulded in their coach's profile.

Bielsa has his side playing front-foot, fast-paced football, but they are also stern defenders, as they proved in a goalless draw with Brazil, which they then won on penalties despite having gone down to 10 men.

The future is bright with Bielsa at the helm.

Jesse Marsch and Canada

Not much was expected of tournament debutants Canada, but two years in advance of co-hosting the World Cup, the Reds went on a great run to the semi-finals.

Sure, they only won one match in normal time, but a penalty shoot-out victory over Venezuela in the quarters teed up a rematch against Argentina and the champions just had too much quality (again).

Jesse Marsch's stock was low after he was sacked by Leeds United, but after a spell out of the game, this job looks to be the perfect fit for the confident American.

And with Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David spearheading Canada's hopes in 2026, perhaps something special is on the cards.

THE FLOPS

Brazil

Dorival Junior, who took over as Brazil head coach in January, has asked for time and patience to complete a rebuild, having left several big names out due to a lack of form or fitness. Neymar, of course, was also absent, having missed pretty much all of last season due to injury.

But the Selecao really did flop at this Copa America.

Their only win came against Paraguay (4-1) in the group stage, and their failure to top Group D meant they went up against Uruguay in the last eight.

Vinicius Junior scored a double against Paraguay but then got himself suspended for the clash with La Celeste. If he had been available, maybe matters might have been different, but as it was, the nine-time Copa America champions crashed out.

 

United States

The USA were meant to go far at what was a dress rehearsal for the 2026 World Cup. Instead, they slumped out in the group stage and Gregg Berhalter was fired.

It is the first time the Stars and Stripes have failed to advance after winning their opening group-stage match of a tournament, having previously advanced all 23 times they had won their opener.

After beating Bolivia, USA lost to Panama and Uruguay in a damp squib of a campaign.

US Soccer must now try and move on from the Berhalter era. They have a talented squad at their disposal, but a golden generation could be wasted if they do not get their next appointment right.

Jurgen Klopp has reportedly been approached, and reportedly turned that offer down, too.

The organisers

From poor pitches to poor organisation, CONMEBOL did not come out of this tournament well.

Bielsa and Marsch both lambasted the governing body during their final press conferences, while Messi and Scaloni were critical of the quality of the playing surfaces.

And then, before the final, crowd trouble outside Miami's Hard Rock stadium forced the postponement of the showpiece. Oh, and there was also that matter of fighting in the stands between Uruguay players and Colombia fans.

There's work to do on that front.

Mexico 

Only twice in 10 previous participations at the Copa America had Mexico gone out in the group stage, failing to win a game in back-to-back editions in 2011 and 2015.

El Tri did manage a victory this time around, beating Jamaica 1-0 in their Group B opener, but that was as good as it got as a 1-0 loss to Venezuela and a goalless draw with Ecuador saw them edged out on goal difference, finishing third in their pool.

Mexico scored just once from chances totalling 4.86 xG, their forwards letting them down as they recorded the second-worst underperformance at the tournament (behind Canada, - 4.36).

Darwin Nunez

Nunez was wasteful for Liverpool throughout the 2023-24 season, and things did not change for him at the Copa America despite Uruguay entertaining en route to the semi-finals.

His two goals, both of which came in the group stage, came from a total of 21 shots worth 2.68 xG, and only five of those efforts saw him hit the target.

His figure of 1.93 expected goals on target (xGoT), meanwhile, demonstrated the way in which his sub-par finishing made opportunities less likely to result in a goal.

Nunez's tournament then ended with the forward being involved in violent clashes with Colombia fans after La Celeste's semi-final defeat. 

 

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