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Jun 28, 2024 6:15 pm

First-place Argentina to face Peru without Messi, Scaloni

messi

Lionel Messi will not play when Argentina completes Group A play in the 2024 Copa America against Peru on Saturday in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner sustained a right groin/adductor injury against Chile on Tuesday. He did not train Thursday, but he reportedly could be available for Argentina’s quarterfinal match on July 4.

“Leo had an issue in the last match. He won’t be joining us in the next one,” assistant coach Walter Samuel said through a translator. “We will go day-to-day awaiting his evaluation. We also had a matter of overload so in order to avoid questions on that topic, we won’t have him for the next match.”

Samuel spoke Friday in place of head coach Lionel Scaloni, who was suspended for the Peru match because Argentina was five minutes late coming out after halftime at its two previous matches.

The Messi news will surely disappoint what was expected to be another sellout in the Miami area. But all precaution is being taken for Inter Miami star, who turned 37 on Monday, because Argentina has already qualified for the quarterfinals and should finish atop the group.

Argentina would need to lose to Peru and Canada beat Chile by a large enough margin for Canada to overtake Argentina in the goal-differential tiebreaker. Argentina is currently plus-3, Canada minus-1.

Argentina likely will rest several other top players against Peru. Budding 19-year-old stars Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United) and Valentin Carboni (Inter Milan, on loan with Monza) could play for the first time.

“We are not underestimating our opponent,” Samuel said. “We are always playing to win.”

Peru would have to beat Argentina and hope Canada does not defeat Chile to have a chance at qualifying.

Peru tied Chile 0-0 in the opener and lost 1-0 to Canada after Peruvian Miguel Araujo was shown a red card in the second half.

Still, Peru coach Jorge Fossati was pleased by the performance.

“In the first half, we challenged Canada more than Argentina challenged them (in a 2-0 win) and I am talking about Argentina, the current world champions,” he said.

–Field Level Media

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