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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK
Argentina to meet Brazil in final

Lionel Messi celebrates his wonder goal
Messi scored a sublime goal to help Argentina go through
Argentina set up the dream Copa America final with Brazil after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Mexico in Puerto Ordaz.

Andres Guardado hit the post as Mexico started well, but Argentina went ahead with a volley from Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze right on half-time.

Lionel Messi doubled the lead with a remarkable goal, lifting the ball home from the right-hand side of the area.

Rafael Marquez brought down Carlos Tevez four minutes later and Juan Roman Riquelme cheekily scored the penalty.

Alfio Basile's side largely outclassed the Mexicans to book their place in Sunday's showpiece encounter at the Jose Pachencho Romero stadium in Maracaibo.

Mexico had started the game well and had the first real chance, Juan Carlos Cacho taking advantage of a defensive mistake only to fire over the crossbar.

Javier Zanetti mis-hit a shot and Tevez fired at keeper Oswaldo Sanchez for Argentina before Guardado rifled against the right-hand post.

Argentina broke the deadlock on half-time, as Riquelme drifted a free-kick into the area and Heinze volleyed home at the far post.

Omar Bravo and Alberto Medina came on for Mexico at the break and they went agonsiginsly close again, Nery Castillo seeing his shot cannon back off the crossbar.

Just as they could see a way back into the game, Barcelona genius Messi put it out of their reach with a moment of pure inspiration.

Collecting Tevez's pass on the right-hand side of the penalty box, Messi cut across the ball to produce an outrageous chip that floated over a stranded Sanchez.


After 65 minutes it was all over, Marquez obstructing Tevez in the area and Riquelme stepping up to audaciously flick home the resulting penalty.

Substitute Rodrigo Palacio fired over when well-placed and Messi saw another effort drift wide as Argentina could have added more towards the end of the game.

They will now bid for a record 15th title when they meet arch rivals Brazil on Sunday.

Mexico must settle for a third-place play-off against Uruguay instead.

  • Argentina coach Alfio Basile:
    "It's the last link in the chain and playing in a classic derby against Brazil is the greatest.

    "As for Messi's goal, only a genius, a superstar could do this. It was an extraordinary feat that moved everybody."

  • Mexico coach Hugo Sanchez:
    "We tried our best, but we must say the opponents were superior.

    "There's nothing left but to recognize just how good this Argentina team really is."

    Next fixtures (Kick-off times BST):

    Saturday 14 July - Third-place play-off
    Uruguay v Mexico (2105)

    Sunday 15 July - Final
    Brazil v Argentina (2105)

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