Shropshire Star

Aston Villa's Emi Martinez helps Argentina to Copa America final

Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez is in the final of the Copa America after Argentina overcame Canada in the semi-finals.

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Goals in each half from Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi were enough to see the defending champions past tournament debutants Canada 2-0.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has already steered his team to the 2021 Copa America and World Cup a year later and described the latest success as “something to be proud of”.

“I think the team has done good things every game. It’s impossible to be disappointed with these guys,” Scaloni said.

“My gratitude is all for the players. We have been praised. We have been successful. And to get here after that costs twice as much.”

He described tournament debutants Canada, coached by former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch, as “a very difficult opponent”.

“Everyone thought it was going to be a bed of roses and it wasn’t like that at all,” he said.

“We have a few days to rest. We will try to play a great game on Sunday.”

Messi described the success of the team as “insane”.

“For those who remain from the old guard, it’s beyond impressive that the national team is in another final,” he said.

He admitted the tournament had been “very difficult” with “bad surfaces, excessive heat” in the USA this summer.