Argentina’s Road to the Copa America Final

Lionel Messi’s side will be looking to regain the Copa America trophy after winning it in 2021.

Argentina's road to the Copa America final

HIGHLIGHTS

Lionel Messi and Argentina are aiming to retain the Copa America after winning it in 2021 against Brazil.
Argentina’s potential route could see them face one team in both the group stages and then the semi-finals.
The World Cup winners go into the tournament as favourites, yet that brings immense pressure as they go on an adventure in the United States of America.

When Argentina won the 2022 World Cup on penalties after drawing 3-3 with France in Qatar, there was a sense that Lionel Messi had completed football. He had just won the one prize he had been searching for his entire career — and some even suggested he should retire to end his international career – for a second time – on a high.

Yet he ignored that idea and continued to play for Argentina. Now, the superstar is aiming to retain the 2024 Copa America, which is taking place in the United States of America. Argentina won the Copa America in 2021 against bitter rivals Brazil, ending Messi’s pursuit of an international trophy. The idea that he and his country could win the tournament is not so crazy, despite stiff competition from the likes of Brazil, as well as underdogs Uruguay and the USA.

The 2024 Copa America is set to be better than ever, and this article details Argentina’s potential route to the final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, where Messi could lift his third international trophy in three remarkable years.

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Group Stages

Chile, Peru, Canada/Trinidad and Tobago

Image of Copa America trophy

To begin, two of Argentina’s three group-stage opponents have been confirmed. They will face Chile, Peru and one of Canada or Trinidad and Tobago in America. The playoff between the latter two countries takes place on the 23rd March 2024, which will see one of them face the immense challenge of playing Messi and his incredible team.

Argentina will kick off their tournament against one of those teams. The South American side have only ever played Canada once, winning 5-0 in 2010. Meanwhile, they have also only played once against Trinidad and Tobago, winning 3-0 in 2014 as part of their preparations for the World Cup. The match will take place on the 20th June against one of those sides at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atalanta. Canada will be expected to beat Trinidad and Tobago, considering they have the likes of Alphonso Davies in their team, yet it can never be guaranteed.

Moving on, Argentina’s second match will be against Chile. They have played each other countless times – 95 matches to be precise – and Chile have only won eight of those games. However, one of those in particular scarred La Albiceleste for years, after they were beaten in the 2016 Copa America final on penalties 4-2. Messi missed a crucial spot-kick, which led to him retiring from international football for a short period of time. However, since then, Argentina have regained the bragging rights. They have not lost since that fateful night — and they even knocked them out of the 2019 and 2021 Copa America. The match in New Jersey looks set to be an entertaining one once again.

Finally, Argentina will finish their group stage against Peru. They have a spectacular record against them, winning 36 of the 57 matches they have played against them. They have only lost seven — and their last defeat to the smaller South American side came in 1997. The two sides have not met each other at a major tournament since 2007, when Argentina won 4-0 to reach the semi-finals. Most of their fixtures have come during the qualifying rounds for the tournament, which has seen Argentina unsurprisingly dominate. It is expected that Messi’s side will win all three matches and finish top of their group.

Key Information

Fixture
Date
Stadium
Opponent’s World Ranking

Argentina vs Canada/Trinidad and Tobago
20th June 2024
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
50th/96th

Chile vs Argentina

25th June 2024

MetLife Stadium (New Jersey)
42nd

Argentina vs Peru
29th June 2024
Hard Rock Stadium (Miami)
33rd

World Rankings via FIFA correct as of 21/2/24

Quarter-Finals

Mexico or Ecuador

Mexico vs Argentina players at the 2022 World Cup

In the likely outcome that Argentina finish top of their group, they will face likely candidates Ecuador. Group A qualifiers go up against Group B teams in the knockout stages. Group B consists of Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela and Jamaica. Ecuador and Mexico will both be firmly tipped to go through — and we think Mexico will finish top, highlighted by having the highest world ranking.

Due to this, a match between Ecuador and Argentina in the quarter-finals will prove to be entertaining. They can be a frustrating team to play against, yet Argentina have not lost to them since 2015. They have won 23 of the 39 matches played between the two sides, making them firm favourites to reach the Copa America semi-finals if they come up against one another.

However, in the highly unlikely outcome that Argentina finish second in their group, they will probably face Mexico on the 5th July at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. These two sides met at the 2022 World Cup, which Lionel Scaloni’s side won thanks to two stunning goals from Messi and Enzo Fernandez. Argentina have not lost to Mexico since 2004, losing just five of the 36 matches between the two countries. Either quarter-final between Argentina and Mexico/Ecuador will be entertaining as thousands of South American fans descend on America.

Possible Routes

Scenario
Likely Team Faced
World Ranking
Date
Stadium

Win group into QF1
Ecuador
31st
4th July

NRG Stadium (Houston)

Runners up of group into QF2
Mexico
15th
5th July

AT&T Stadium (Arlington)

World Rankings via FIFA correct as of 21/2/24

Semi-Finals

Mexico or Peru

Mexico vs Argentina players at the 2022 World Cup

The Copa America works in a unique way in the fact that Group A and B can’t meet teams from Group C or D until the final. Therefore, it is highly plausible that Argentina face a team from the group stages, likely Peru.

If Argentina win their group and then be likely opponents Ecuador, they will probably face Mexico, who started their journey from Group B. As previously mentioned, Argentina have an impressive record against the latter, yet the country connecting the two main areas of the Americas can still spring surprises. With the likes of Hirving Lozano and West Ham’s Edson Alvarez, the country are capable of winning, even if it would come as a shock. A potential match between the two nations would take place at the MetLife Stadium on the 9th July.

However, if they finish second in their group and beat Mexico in the quarter-finals, then they will potentially play Peru again. The two teams are guaranteed to face one another in the group stages, and it’s easy to imagine that it is Peru’s worst nightmare to play the reigning World Cup and Copa America champions twice in the same tournament, yet it is possible. Containing legendary players such as Paolo Guerrero and Andre Carrillo, they will be full of belief if it does come to this outcome, even if they were to be firm underdogs.

Routes

Scenario
Likely Team Faced
World Ranking
Date
Stadium

If they go through QF1
Mexico
15th
July 9th

MetLife Stadium (New Jersey)

If they go through QF2
Peru
33rd

World Rankings via FIFA correct as of 21/2/24

Final

Potentially facing rivals Brazil

 

Alisson for Brazil reacts. Neymar in action for Brazil Richarlison battles for the ball with Bolivia players.

Argentina are expected to comfortably reach the Copa America final – and, if they do, they will face bitter rivals Brazil. It is one of the best international rivalries in the world, with every match full of drama and chaos. The last time Brazil beat Argentina was in the 2019 Copa America final, which they won thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino. However, since then, Argentina have not conceded against them, winning three matches and drawing one 0-0.

The 2021 Copa America saw these two teams meet in the final again, yet – that time – Argentina won 1–0 thanks to a 22nd-minute strike from Angel Di Maria to end Messi’s trophy draught. Their most recent fixture was marred by crowd violence as Argentina won at the Maracana Stadium, epitomising the tension whenever they meet. A potential final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami would be hard to predict, but Argentina would go in as slight favourites due to their recent record against Brazil.

The two nations contest one of the fierecest rivalries in world football.

It is also worth noting that if Argentina lose their semi-final, however unlikely that is, they will still have one more match – the third-placed playoff. In 2024, it is likely to be against the USA, Uruguay and Colombia, all of which are separated by just three world-ranking places. But, if that was the case for Argentina, Messi and manager Lionel Scaloni would be bitterly frustrated considering they are firm favourites to reach one of the biggest matches in football.

Likely Opponent

Team
World Ranking
Date
Stadium

Brazil
5th
July 14th
Hard Rock Stadium (Miami)

World Rankings via FIFA correct as of 21/2/24