Argentina 1-1 Paraguay: VAR controversy as Messi avoids disaster

Argentina 1-1 Paraguay: VAR controversy as Messi avoids disaster

Even a draw doesn't work for the simple fact that they have a worse goal differential than Qatar, so it's clear for Argentina that only a victory, preferably by at least two goals, is going to be enough to clinch a place in the Last Eight.

Argentina got off to the flawless start when Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez broke the deadlock after just four minutes.

He quickly turned to Aguero with his side trailing 1-0 at halftime but just as Argentina were looking more risky after Messi's equaliser and Franco Armani's penalty save, he took off the lively Lautaro Martinez for Di Maria.

Into the second half and Argentina continued to struggle to put the game beyond Qatar, who stunned Japan to win the Asian Cup back in February.

"We have to keep looking for the team and improve". There was at least promise in his partnership with Aguero, who scored his own right at the death to seal qualification after a frustrating afternoon of missed chances.

Sanchez added: "Messi can be decisive in any game due to his quality, hundreds of coaches have spent ages trying to stop him but there's no magic formula, it all depends on Leo's feet". Paraguay stayed with two points and Colombia had six, already secured in the knockout stage. Obviously Messi is 10 times the player Almiron will ever be, but the Magpies ace gave the Barcelona legend as good as he got in their countries' 1-1 Copa America draw.

Midfielders Leandro Paredes and Giovani Lo Celso should be joined either by Guido Rodriguez or Marcos Acuna.

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But the 2022 World Cup hosts rarely threatened and were fortunate to go in trailing by only a solitary goal after Aguero fired tamely wide when Messi presented him with a golden opportunity from the edge of the box.

Lionel Messi must be stopped by a collective effort from Paraguay in Wednesday's crunch Copa América clash, according to their head coach Eduardo Berizzo.

Messi and Argentina, once more struggling in an global tournament, have no choice but to beat Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup.

That should come as little relief, however.

Sunday offered the first clues that a team could be emerging from the chaos and malaise of the a year ago.

"With the chances Argentina have created it could be 3-0, but that would belie a very shaky performance in the moments when they've not had the ball", Argentina football writer Sam Kelly tweeted at half-time.