Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano’s Argentina have four points from their first two games at the Copa America and that’s enough to ensure that they’ll be playing in the quarter finals. But there’s still one game left for the 2014 World Cup finalists. They take on guest participants Jamaica tonight in Viña de Mar (kick off 6.30pm local time and 11.30pm CET).
The side coached by former Barça boss Tata Martino drew 2-2 with Paraguay in their first game and then defeated Uruguay 1-0 on Tuesday. They currently share the lead in Group B with the Paraguayans on four points, with Uruguay just behind the top two on three points. The game between Paraguay and Uruguay will be over by the time the game with Jamaica kicks off, so Argentina will know what they have to do to make sure they win the group against a side that are already eliminated after losing both their previous games 1-0.
Martino has already revealed to the press that he’ll be resting Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, who is having trouble with his back, and that Gonzalo Higuaín will be taking his place at centre forward. Martín Demichelis, also of City, will be coming in as a replacement for the suspended Nicolás Otamendi.
Ten years after making his debut against Hungary, 27 year old Leo Messi is set to make his 100th appearance for his country tonight. Only three players have more caps for Argentina than the Barça star: Zanetti (145), Ayala (115) and club colleague Mascherano (113). In his 99 games to date, Messi has scored 46 goals and needs just ten more to break the record held by Gabriel Batistuta.
In an interview with Argentine daily La Nación, Messi said "I'm very happy to be here and hopefully I can celebrate another victory and once and for all win a title with Argentina."
"In these 100 games I have had incredible experiences, really great times. They’re unforgettable. I’ve been through situations that have helped me grow as a player, but unfortunately with no title to show for it. Hopefully I’ll have one to go with these 100 games."