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Argentina

In an arduous and fiercely contested match, typical of Copa America, Argentina was crowned champions once again, courtesy of Lautaro Martinez’s decisive goal in overtime.

Led by Lionel Scaloni, the reigning champions of America and the world, Argentina aimed to replicate the same triumph they did in 2021 when they beat bitter rivals Brazil in the final and hoisting the Copa America trophy at Maracanã.

This time around, Colombia, led by the forgotten man James Rodriguez, came to the final undefeated, driven to secure only its second continental trophy in history. Under the impressive direction of Argentine manager Nestor Lorenzo, Los Cafeteros, were aiming to shock the world in Miami.

After an unexpected delay of over an hour, caused by the disturbance outside the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium, the match kicked off with La Scaloneta – as the Argentinian team is known – going after the Colombia teams.

Just under a minute into the match, Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez took a shot inside the box at goalkeeper Camilo Vargas, but the ball narrowly missed the corner.

The Colombian team quickly ensure to dispel any notions that they would be intimidated by it, as they steadily up their lines, applied firm pressure on the Argentina defense, and through the pressure managed to steal the ball from the defenders, creating their first scoring opportunities.

In a brave performance by Nestor Lorenzo’s team, Colombia absolutely took command of the match in the initial 20 minutes, forcing Emi Martinez to work twice during this time.

Colombia absolutely dominated the first half, with James Rodriguez creating chances through the middle, Jhon Córdoba hitting the post with a short-range effort and defender Carlos Cuesta drawing a fine save from Dibu Martinez in a header inside the box.

Argentina struggled to find their footing on the pitch. After Lionel Messi got injured in the 37th minute, it felt like the Argentine team was desperately crying for the half. No changes on the first eleven for the second half for Scaloni, but a change in posture from Argentina was necessary.

A change in posture came in a rather topsy-turvy manner. To start the second half, Argentina started lifting balls into the penalty area, thus lifting their fans together.

However, In the 66th minute, Argentina suffered a big blow, Lionel Messi went off with an apparent ankle injury. Sat on the bench, tears streaming down his face, as he held an ice bag to his right foot, felt like this might be the last image of Messi with the Albiceleste.

A horrid second half, little to no creativity by both teams. By the 80th minutes, it was evident that neither team was willing to take any chances.

So, we went to overtime in Miami. Through an intense first half of overtime, both teams appeared to be exhausted, but what was striking was the high-paced South American style of play. When Juan Fernando Quintero entered the match; Colombia had a surge in physical vitality and creativity.

Scaloni answered with Lautaro Martínez, who made a fierce entrance and ultimately scored in the 112 minute to give Argentina the trophy.

The win over Colombia secured Argentina’s 16th continental trophy, surpassing Uruguay and establishing them as the most successful team in the tournament’s history. Lionel Scaloni once again leads Argentina to a championship, yet the spotlight also shines on Lionel Messi and Ángel Di María who might have done their last game ever with the national team.

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We all love the joy of witnessing these fairy tale moments such as Canada who made it as far as the semis off the back of a undefeated performances bar the opening round defeat v Argentina including that Quarter-Final win the other day v Venezuela via penalties. However, facing a top side like the Argentinians again were never easy indeed with the likes of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez following a 2-0 semi-finals loss earlier this afternoon at MetLife Stadium in New York. Although Canada’s unreal Copa America run isn’t over just yet with a third-place Playoff match coming up this weekend against the loser of the 2nd semi-final match as we turn our attention to Colombia v Uruguay in Charlotte, NC tomorrow morning.

First of all, Canada weren’t bad for the most part defensively other than a couple of mis-timed tackles and passes that led to two Argentina goals where it could’ve been 0-0 to give themselves a lifeline like another 30 mins of extra time and maybe penalty shootouts or even a successful goal or two would do it to stop Argentina from bothering them. They did have a couple of late chances though to try and hold back Argentina but then there was very little time left against the clock unfortunately as the game well and truly belongs to the Defending Champions. As said, they had a spectacular run as being the best North American side in this competition across the Americas & sure Canada will keep on grinding towards regular silverware like the future CONCACAF Gold Cup editions sooner rather than later. But it’s all about South America for now when Canada is now out of the tournament with three nations left in the running that will become two in less than 24 hours time.

Meanwhile, it’s great to see Argentina advance to the Final once again following an easy 2-0 win v Canada having dominated the pitch for most of the game. Yes, they could’ve done a bit better as if Argentina was using this semi as a practice match for the Final as no opponent will ever them a free run. However, they did profit the defensive errors Canada couldn’t capitalise at their own end where Argentina successfully found the net on both occasions by Alvarez and Messi before the clock ticks down ahead of full-time & Argentina are now step closer towards hopefully winning their record 16th title. At the moment, Argentina currently have 15 titles which is tied with potential finalists Uruguay who might be there to spoil their championship-winning celebrations come Sunday & maybe be the most successful team in Copa America history – if Uruguay can beat Colombia in the other semi tomorrow. Regardless of what happens, Argentina wouldn’t mind to come up against anyone whether if it’s Uruguay or Colombia as long as they can get the job done with goals to win them yet another trophy.

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July 4 may have taken place today in the US but that doesn’t mean soccer can’t be played without them when Copa America began the knockout stages in the first of the four Quarter-Finals at the same time between Argentina v Ecuador at NRG Stadium in Texas. It was almost a quiet game for a start when Argentina took the early lead off a successful in the first 45 minutes where they led 1-0 before Ecuador gave themselves a lifeline that held them back a bit longer thanks to substitute left winger Keven Rodriguez just minutes towards the end of normal time (90 mins) as this match isn’t over just yet.

Although both teams were unable to break the equaliser over the next extra half-hour, but at the end of the day, one winner has to advance into the semis while the other will have to pack their bags back home early. The winner belongs to Argentina following a 4-2 penalty win where their supporters went wild while they got the share with the Americans on their birthday as a whole nation. Now Argentina’s US tour continues to New Jersey now at MetLife Stadium in five days time (Wednesday 10AM AEST) – the home of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final as it will either be Venezuela or Canada now in Quarter-Final match No.2 where one of them will go on to take on Argentina come tomorrow 10 AM also within Texas but this time at AT&T Stadium.

Heartbreak for Ecuador where they were so fortunate enough to keep the game alive until the very end but there were a few missed opportunities that could’ve seen them advance into the semis instead of the Argentineans. Yes, they weren’t bad to get the ball rolling but it was simply their poor executions that came back to bit them such as that back-to-back mis-timed shots on goal including that early 2nd half penalty before more & more of these hit and misses made it so easy for Argentina to put the ball away from the in-goal at the sudden death shootout – which ultimately confirmed their elimination from the last 8 yet again over their last 3 out of 4 campaigns. It would’ve been about three decades now since their last semi-final there on home soil back in 1993 if they did win v Argentina as Ecuador will have to try again next time for the next Copa America in 2028.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Argentina with the brilliant win after they escaped the threat of Ecuador unscathed via penalties. Great to hear they’ve got the lead early while trying to hold out until at least the end of normal time (90 mins or 100 mins you would like to call it these days) for the win but then those plans were held back by Ecuador last minute when Argentina could’ve done better to cash in on the opposition’s hit and miss attempts such as scoring 2-0 or 3-0 in order to give themselves a bit of an early mark ahead of the semis. But they’ve did well however to bring this game to a close where Argentina was always good to in penalties like we’ve seen in the past – such as their 3rd World Cup trophy after a long 36 years (1986) wait two years ago v 2 x champions France in Qatar. Now with Lionel Messi sticking around for a bit longer following his post-World Cup triumph pledge, let’s see if Argentina will go one step closer once again to try & defend their crown from 2021 for the record 16th time as this next contest wouldn’t be that difficult either way en route to the Final.

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The 2024 Copa America tournament has just started today with Argentina v Canada and yes, it’s been scrappy and quiet for the most part where there were a series of hit and misses that led into a scoreless 45 mins of play. But it’s still Argentina with the 2-0 win over the Canadians to kickstart Group A off the back of two 2nd half goals from Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez. They will both be back for the 2nd week all on Tuesday where Canada take on Peru while Argentina v Chile.

Well played by the defending champs who turned things around well after the half-time break including some good use of the subs that helped gave them the 2nd goal that late to close out the match. Credit to the frontline being active all along to give the defenders a difficult time where Argentina eventually found a breakthrough. Yes, they gotta improve their first 45 when things couldn’t go their way despite having a lot of ball. But it’s better if they finish things knowing they can find the net at the right time rather than being a bit hesitant by just shooting for it and hope for the best. Meanwhile, Canada were relieved to get away from the Argentinian fast start earlier on while they made two early chances of their own to try and bag a goal. But not only they lack numbers to bring it home particularly when looking to go inside the box, their poor possession throughout the 2nd half was just too difficult to stop the Argentineans in the end. I know it’s not the easiest of starts but an unexpected lead with 1-2 early goals if Canada did score would’ve gave themselves up some confidence to try & shut them down.

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It’s been another rough day in the office for both of our Australian men’s and women’s hockey teams in Antwerp, Belgium this time at the hands of Argentina. The men despite a great start earlier on from Tim Brand was run down off the back of the opposition’s 2-0 comeback from behind during the 3rd quarter before they were held back 2-1 in the end. Then the women were unable to grasp out of the second-best ranked team with hit and misses and also defensive gaps falling anywhere and everywhere even though they were 1-0 down at half-time in the hope of a good turnaround, having also been bitterly bruised 5-0 thanks to an excellent Argentinean 2nd half counter-attack including their dominant possession & winning penalties.

Gotta say too much ill-discipline and not enough possession when creating the best chances with the ball has crippled the Hockeyroos so much when the backline including the goalkeeper worked so hard to stop the Argentineans from its tracks which wasn’t oh so easy. We thought being 1-0 down is better than nothing so they can turn things around in order to bridge the other end that would hopefully bring some confidence to close things out their way but nothing much has changed unfortunately when the Argentineans had greater control of the ball from here that restricted the best out of our attack.

As said with the men, great start by the Kookaburras with the quick counter-attacking finish where there were some good numbers to give Tim Brand the finishing touches he needs for the early lead while toning the opposition play down that puts them in front at half-time 1-0. However, they just couldn’t build on when trying to get past a robust Argentinean defense including some hit and misses before it eventually came back to haunt them, particularly during the 3rd quarter. Their momentum just isn’t the same as it was earlier on when there less opportunities towards shots on target while witnessing the Argentinans rebound by ripping up their own backline with numbers clearly shown to snatch the lead & then shut it down including another set of lost penalties & ill-discipline that consigned them to yet another loss against another top-notch side.

The Hockeyroos will have a rest day today with the Kookaburras getting a bit more time before they will both be back in action this weekend. Here’s the following next matches to round off their Belgian mini-tour in Antwerp before turning their attention to Germany and Great Britain to finish off the 2023-24 FIH Pro League season in London, UK sometime next week:

  • Hockeyroos v Argentina again on Saturday night our time with the Kookaburras to follow straight after that v the Argentina Men’s team.
  • Hockeyroos continue on Sunday night our time v Belgium again; same with the Kookaburras v Belgium once more straight after that in the early hours of Monday morning our time.
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World No.4 Italian Jannik Sinner is on a roll this afternoon at Margaret Court Arena following a straight sets win v Sebastian Baez from Argentina. He was too good in the opening two sets & although Baez finally got the ball rolling on time that late in such a huge task to try & hang in there, but Sinner took his time well to bring it home with the win 6-0, 6-1 & 6-3. The Davis Cup team winning player for Team Italy will now face either Tomáš Macháč (Czech Republic) or Karen Khachanov (Russia) for the fourth round this Sunday.

It’s been a great run where this is the second time that Baez has played in the third round after the 2023 US Open but his time was over so fast against such a tremendous player. Like how he fought back in the third set with some good shots to slow Sinner down. But then he was so behind unfortunately for most of the time as there’s nothing he can do about it other than looking to move on next time. He’s ranked 26th right now at age 23 who might not be the tallest but has great ability to unpack things along the way where a great ATP Tour season would see him challenge beyond the third round. And yes, what a player he is from Sinner who is enjoying the Tennis of his life at the moment. He was simply too good over the first two sets over an opponent being so much shorter than him before he took his time a bit longer well against an alert & ready Baez in the third set with a great way to wrap it up in just under two hours of play. Aside from the 2023 Davis Cup team win for Italy, he only made the semi-final last year at Wimbledon but only made the last 8 at Melbourne Park once back in 2022. So he has plenty to prove as his Davis Cup heroics can help springboard his way into something special & win a grand slam from there – same goes to our Aussie own Alex De Minaur who also did well in the Davis Cup and he’s currently ranked World No.10.

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Another decent match-up we’ve just seen on the 4th Day of the 2022 Australian Open as Stefanos Tsitsipas went from the opening set down to the next three sets nailed down against Argentine Sebastian Baez at Margaret Court Arena, he will wait for either Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria or Frenchman Benoit Paire as his next opponent for Round 3.

Final Score: 6-7 via 1-7 tiebreaker, 7-6 via 7-5 tiebreaker, 3-6, 4-6

Unlucky from Baez with the loss where he fired off well with the narrow 1st set lead via the tiebreaker, although he never gave up continuing that fight having won some games back along the way but just couldn’t hold back an elite opponent from the Top 5 like Tsitsipas in the end. He will leave Melbourne Park with room for improvement whenever Baez plats next time, but at least he just pocketed over $100,000 prize money after his 1st career Grand Slam win from the previous round v Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

And how good is Tsitsipas, who terrifically completed this match-up, as he came out from the 1st set loss & tied Baez 1-1 through another tiebreak through the wire before the Greek managed to renew his momentum through the 2nd half run in Sets 3 & 4 that became his turning point towards the homestretch.

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Outstanding performance from Chris O’Connell on Round 2 of the 2022 Australian Open as he just knocked down Diego Schwartzman from Argentina in straight sets (6-4 via 6-8 tiebreaker, 4-6 & 4-6), even though it was a really close battle throughout the entire three-hour tie at Court No.3.

Schwartzman was gutted to be eliminated on Day 4 after he came here as the 13th seed in this draw, he showed some fight a couple of times where he did his best to close in on O’Connell & didn’t take his opponent lightly. However, he couldn’t hold the Australian back every time his opponent won set after set, plus he was also hesitant about the lack of conversions which is something Schwartzman couldn’t back up on the tennis court today.

And congratulations to Chris O’Connell with a huge & breakthrough win, it wasn’t the easiest of challenges when he came up against someone, who is closer to the Top 10 seeds, in this year’s Australian Open. Well, he managed to overcome plenty of these competitive battles against Schwartzman before O’Connell nailed it all through every checkpoint and later the finish line after three sets done early out of five.

Let’s see if he can go all the way having entered the men’s singles draw as the wildcard.

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Samu Kerevi as always has been immense in the Wallabies midfield at No.12 having gone strength to strength as an all-action player since he returned from Olympics duty in Rugby 7s.

He has the physicality & vision to rip apart the opposition territory whenever with the ball in hand that gave time to complete these executions, thanks to the support runners around him the communication & close passing was key to the Wallabies’ big score contributions tonight.

Next up is another Wallaby in Andrew Kellaway who was excellent in the wide right position & he too hasn’t put a foot wrong after accruing a few caps at International level.

He made so much running into the Los Pumas territory especially when his side were patient going forward which afforded the possession given to him so they know what’s best for Kellaway to help smash this game which is reflected in the 2nd half.

And Lucio Cinti Luna performed not bad for Los Pumas at outside centre (No.13) where not only he can hold back the Wallabies with his defending but can be a real threat going forward thanks to the tall & physical build which is huge to read that vision at 6 ft 3 in (1.9 m).

Unfortunately, it’s not his night when his Pumas side lacked support numbers to build pressure back to the Wallabies, even though they were good at times with the reset penalties like the Julian Montoya TRY just after half-time with very little change to turn around later on.

#RugbyChampionship #InternationalRugby #Rugby #RugbyUnion #Wallabies #LosPumas #LucioCintiLuna #AndrewKellaway #SamuKerevi

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What a start to the first half from the defending champs in Fiji and the dangerous Argentina side at 12-14.

Fiji may have fired off with two decent tries early on the board but Argentina bounced back just in time ahead of half-time including two successful conversion kicks which is a bit of a boost.

Fiji were so powerful in the end that blew Argentina away & end their unbeaten run as they get to defend their gold medal title v New Zealand tonight.

The final score is Fiji 26-14 Argentina.

For Argentina, they were exceptional from the group stages as well as the quarter-final up until this point v Fiji today with the way they play their rugby 7s.

Although, Argentina won’t have the chance to claim the gold or silver in this sport but can at least leave out with a possible bronze when they face Great Britain later on.

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