Argentina 4-1 Guatemala: Messi and Martinez star as Copa America holders warm up in style

By Sports Desk June 15, 2024

Lionel Messi and Lautaro Martinez scored twice for Argentina as they concluded their Copa America preparations with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Guatemala. 

Argentina found themselves behind inside four minutes when Lisandro Martinez's own goal handed Guatemala their first-ever goal against La Albiceleste.

However, Messi, who was featuring for the 182nd time for his country, levelled the contest eight minutes later as goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen's poor clearance fell kindly into his path.

Lionel Scaloni's team were awarded a penalty just before half-time as Nicolas Samayoa fouled Valentin Carboni, with Martinez stepping from 12 yards to score. 

Messi and Martinez combined for Argentina's third goal, with the latter doubling his tally after he was picked out by his team-mate in the area.

Messi put the result beyond doubt late on, lofting the ball over Hagen after latching onto a fine pass from his former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate, Angel Di Maria. 

Argentina kick off their Group A campaign against Canada on June 21 before facing Chile and Peru in their quest to retain their Copa America title. 

Data Debrief: Messi and Martinez make light work of minnows

Guatemala were simply no match for their illustrious opponents at FedEx Field, managing only four attempts and getting none of those on target, mustering 0.18 expected goals.

Argentina finished with 3.07 xG, with Martinez (1.47) and Messi (1.3) responsible for the majority of that figure. Between them, they had 13 shots, nine more than Guatemala managed as a team.

Related items

  • Bielsa defends Uruguay players after clashes with Colombia fans: 'This is a witch hunt' Bielsa defends Uruguay players after clashes with Colombia fans: 'This is a witch hunt'

    Marcelo Bielsa vehemently defended Uruguay's players after they clashed with Colombia fans following their Copa America semi-final defeat.

    La Celeste's hopes of landing a record-breaking 16th title were ended by a 1-0 loss in Charlotte on Wednesday, and they will subsequently face Canada in Saturday's third-place playoff.

    After the match, footage shared on social media showed La Celeste players climbing into the stands at the Bank of America Stadium when family members were caught up in violence involving Colombia supporters.

    CONMEBOL has opened an investigation into the incident but, when asked whether he feared facing sanctions, Bielsa insisted his players should receive an apology rather than punishment.

    "How can you not defend your mother, your sister, a baby?!" he angrily told reporters at his pre-match press conference. "If they did not do it, they would have been condemned by all of us. 

    "The sanction does not have to be for the footballers, but for those who forced them to act like that. This is a witch hunt. It is a shame.

    "You should have asked me if we have received an apology, not if I fear sanctions. Here, the message was we cannot defend your family, and we cannot allow them to flee. What sanction are they talking to me about?!"

    Defender Sebastian Caceres concurred with Bielsa that he and his team-mates responded in an instinctive manner.

    "What happened after the game is something that anyone would have done," he said. "I went up to check that my family was OK, and I tried to take a team-mate with me so that it wouldn't continue."

  • Austin FC v Seattle Sounders: Newfound resilience key to recent success, says Schmetzer Austin FC v Seattle Sounders: Newfound resilience key to recent success, says Schmetzer

    Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has praised his side’s resilience in coming back from a poor run of results to go five games unbeaten in the MLS.

    The Sounders travel to the Q2 Stadium this weekend to face Austin FC, hoping to continue their winning streak and move further up the Western Conference table.

    Schmetzer’s side currently sit in seventh place in the standings and booked their place in the semi-finals of the US Open Cup following a 2-1 victory over Sacramento Republic last time out.

    The head coach was able to detail the reasoning behind his side’s upturn in fortunes in recent weeks, going on to say the players within the group have changed their mindset as part of their new-found success.

    Schmetzer said: "I have seen goal production; I have seen a little bit of a rebound just in the mindset of the entire group.

    “It has always been a pretty resilient group, but I think they are also a proud group, and I don’t think they were happy in the place that they were a month ago.

    “They started to dig, so it’s a combination of things.”

    Austin also come into the encounter following an impressive victory against New York City FC last time out, coming from a goal down to claim their eighth win of the season.

    Josh Wolff’s side sit right on the play-off line in the Western Conference table, currently occupying ninth place on 30 points but have Minnesota United breathing down their necks.

    The Verde and Black head coach acknowledged the challenges that await his side as the season reached its conclusion, but lauded his players and staffs efforts for coming through a difficult period having suffered several injuries within their squad.

    “Obviously, the pressure will build with each game whether you take points, or you don’t, but if I am being honest, I am very pleased with our group’s efforts to get to this position and be inside the play-off line,” Wolff said.

    “We are four points from being higher and four or five points from being in a much lower spot, but that is what the Western Conference is.

    “The ability from our high performance and technical staff to keep these guys healthy and in a good space, in some games we had four subs, and we knew we were going to have tough times.

    “But the guys, to be able to get results home and away to put us in a position now after the Leagues Cup, the season will go quickly. We have a big week ahead of us and it starts with Seattle.”

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Austin FC – Gyasi Zardes

    Gyasi Zardes was the man of the moment for Austin in their comeback victory against NYCFC, ending his streak of 28 MLS games without a goal.

    His previous longest goal drought came between 2016 and 2017 when he was playing for LA Galaxy, going 18 games without finding the back of the net. His brace will surely give him confidence heading into the encounter.

    Seattle Sounders – Albert Rusnak

    Albert Rusnak’s growing influence within the Seattle Sounders side continues to grow, notching a goal and an assist in their 2-1 triumph over New England in their last MLS fixture.

    Rusnak has either scored or assisted in seven of Seattle’s last eight goals (four goals, three assists). Prior to this rich run of form, the Slovakian had managed just seven goal contributions in the MLS prior to June 19 (one goal, six assists).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Both sides come into the contest off the back of impressive MLS victories, but it is the Sounders who hold the edge when looking at their record at the Q2 Stadium.

    Seattle are unbeaten in three all-time visits to Austin (W2 D1), one of two teams (Colorado Rapids) to visit Austin three times without ever losing.

    But Austin showed their powers of recovery once again in their victory over NYCFC. Having fallen behind in the fifth minute. However, it was the 14th time they have conceded the first goal in a game this season, tied with Inter Miami and Chicago Fire.  

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Austin FC – 39.4%

    Draw – 26.6%

    Seattle Sounders – 34.1%

  • Gomez completes Real Sociedad switch from Manchester City Gomez completes Real Sociedad switch from Manchester City

    Manchester City defender Sergio Gomez has completed a move to Real Sociedad in a deal reportedly worth €10million (£8.4m). 

    Gomez ends a two-year stay at the Etihad Stadium having made 38 appearances for Pep Guardiola's side, winning five major honours that included their maiden triumph in the Champions League and two Premier League titles. 

    The 23-year-old struggled to cement a place in the Citizens first-team having arrived from Anderlecht in 2022 in a deal worth £18million. 

    Gomez made just 18 appearances in the Premier League, with Guardiola preferring summer arrival Josko Gvardiol in the left-back position. 

    City have a 30% sell-on clause in the transfer, with the Spaniard joining the La Liga side on a six-year deal. 

    Gomez returns to his homeland where he started his senior career with Barcelona B, followed by spells at Borussia Dortmund and Huesca. 

    “It’s time to leave Manchester City but I’d like to thank everyone at the CFA for their support and guidance during my time at the club,” Gomez said.

    “Being part of such a talented, ambitious and successful squad was a true honour and winning a host of major trophies, including the treble, is something I will never forget and will always look back fondly on.

    “I am excited for this new adventure but I wish Pep Guardiola and the players every success in the future.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.