Argentina vs Canada

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atalanta sets the stage for a curtain-raising 2024 Copa America showdown between Argentina and Canada.

The joint-record 15-time Copa America winners come into the tournament as reigning holders and world champions, seeking back-to-back continental titles for the first time since 1991 and 1993. Eyes turn to Lionel Messi, who could be in for his last Copa America tournament, looking to help La Albiceleste break the tie with Uruguay and lift their 16th title in their 44th tournament appearance. Confidence stems from avoiding defeat across their last seven Copa America matches (W6, D1). On top of that, they’ve not lost to North American opposition since 2004, suggesting their ongoing five-game winning run should continue. Adding to this sentiment, the Argentines dispatched Canada 5-0 in a friendly in their only previous meeting in 2010.

On the other hand, Canada’s first-ever appearance at Copa America comes after a stoic 0-0 friendly draw against France, albeit it was their third winless outing across their last four (W1, D1, L2). New manager Jesse Marsch has overseen scoring blanks in his first two games in charge (D1, L1), though it’s worth noting his side faced the Netherlands and the French. This encounter ought to be equally daunting for Canada, who flamed out of the 2022 World Cup group stages with all three losses and a -5 goal difference (GF:2, GA:7). The last time the Canucks met South American side, it didn’t end well for them as Uruguay eased past them 2-0 in a friendly in September 2022. Scoring first might be of help, considering Canada’s last three internationals have seen one or both sides fail to find the net (W1, D1, L1).

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