Three from FC Barcelona chasing Copa America semi-final berths
Messi, Mascherano and Claudio Bravo will be hoping to lead Argentina and Chile past Venezuela and Mexico in Saturday's quarter final matches
The Copa America Centenario is into the knockout stages, where on Saturday the three remaining FC Barcelona representatives at the tournament will be looking to clinch places in the semi-finals.
Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano are up first for Argentina, who face the Venezuelaside that qualified at the expense of Luis Suárez’s Uruguay. Messi has yet to start a game in the competition, but scored three goals in the 72 minutes that he did play in the group stage so is clearly over his minor injury niggles. Mascherano played the full ninety of Argentina’s first two games before being rested for the third and is another essential part of Tata Martino’s plans.
Argentina won all three games in Group D, scoring ten goals and conceding just one and are favourites to win back a trophy that they last raised in 1993. Tonight’s game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Masachusetts kicks off at 7.00pm EDT (1.00am CET) and the prize on offer for the winner is a meeting with host nation the United States, who are already safely through after beating Ecuador 2-1.
On the other side of the bracket, the other qualifier from Group D, Claudio Bravo’s Chile, will be in action three hours later against Mexico at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California at 10.00pm EDT (4.00am CET).
After losing to Argentina in their tournament debut, the defending champions went on to beat Bolivia and Paraguay to clinch second place in the group. The winners of the last of the four quarter finals will be meeting Colombia in the semi-finals, who beat Peru on penalties after their game ended 0-0 on Friday.