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Copa América: Canada joins Argentina in the quarterfinals; Chile and Peru are eliminated

Argentine striker Lautaro Martínez was the star of the day, scoring a brace against the Peruvian national team.

Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez, Copa America's top scorer.AFP

Argentina, without Messi, Scaloni and with many substitutes on the field, defeated Peru 2-0 and confirmed the leadership of Group A of the Copa América 2024, in which Canada achieved the second ticket to the quarterfinals thanks to a dramatic 0-0 draw against Chile, who were eliminated.

In the quarterfinals, Argentina will play the second-place team in Group B and Canada will face the first place team. In that group, Venezuela has already advanced to the next stage but it remains to be seen where the Vinotinto will finish and which team will join them, Mexico or Ecuador, who will face each other on Sunday at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale in a match of maximum tension.

On the same day and simultaneously at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, the capital of Texas, eliminated Jamaica will face Venezuela, which seeks to confirm its leadership and avoid the Argentina of Messi and company.

With six points and a solid performance, Venezuela has a favorable outlook to win the group and avoid the World Cup and Copa America champions in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Ecuador and Mexico, both with three points, are playing for the second ticket.

On Saturday, an unbeatable Lautaro Martinez scored Argentina's two goals, in the 47th and 87th minutes, with similar definitions: starting the ball over the body of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. 'Toro' Martinez, Inter Milan's star and emblem, leads the Cup scoring charts with four goals despite starting the tournament as a substitute for Julian Alvarez, Manchester City striker.

"The first half was a bit difficult for us, they were tight, with a line of five, a tough Peru team (...). In the second they opened the goal right away and we handled it calmly," said Lautaro. "We have a lot to give and we will try to continue on this path".

The Albiceleste, which was without its star player and captain and had qualified before the match at the Hard Rock in Miami, tried out several substitutes, including winger Alejandro Garnacho of Manchester United, who showed flashes of his quality in the first half. Also seeing minutes were interesting players such as Valentin Carboni, an Inter Milan asset, who left several strokes of tremendous technique in the final minutes of the match. Likewise, Leandro Paredes, despite missing a penalty in the second half, looked solid as a midfielder.

Peru, meanwhile, tried to cut Argentina's creative circuit but practically without generating danger, not enough to twist Argentina and get the ticket to the quarterfinals. In short, the Peruvian national team left the Copa America without scoring a single goal and showing a very poor version in comparison to previous editions where it had been a protagonist.

Canada sinks Chile

In the other match of the day, Chile was unable to defeat Canada at the Inter&Co Stadium in Orlando, a team that was strong in defense and managed to hold on for a 0-0 draw that put them in the second round.

The sending off of Chilean fullback David Suazo in the 27th minute, a decision that was highly questioned by the Chilean players, conspired early on against the idea of the Chilean team to press and stifle the North Americans, who finally got a draw that was worth the pass to the quarterfinals.

The coach of La Roja, Ricardo Gareca, absent from the bench due to a Conmebol sanction, will have to pay special attention to the replacement of the 'Golden Generation' that won the 2015 and 2016 Copa América with Arturo Vidal, absent in this event, and Alexis Sánchez, who played in the United States but did not have the same impact as in other tournaments where he was an undisputed star.