Not even the World’s top player Leo Messi could save Argentina from crashing out of the Copa America, going down 5-4 in the penalty shootout to Uruguay after an action packed 1-1 draw.
ARGENTINA, 1 (4)
URUGUAY, 1 (5)
Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Burdisso, Milito, Zanetti; Mascherano, Gago (min 96,
Biglia), Di María (min 72, Pastore); Messi, Higuaín and Aguero (min 83, Tévez).
Uruguay: Muslera; Maxi Pereira, Lugano, Victorino (min 19, Scotti), Cáceres;
Pérez, Arévalo (min 110, Gargano), Álvaro González, Álvaro Pereira (min 110, Eguren); Luis Suárez
Goals: 0-1, min 5, Diego Pérez; 1-1, min 17, Higuaín.
Penalties: 1-0, Messi; 1-1, Forlán; 2-1, Burdisso; 2-2, Luis Suárez; Tévez miss;
2-3, Scotti; 3-3, Pastore; 3-4, Gargano; 4-4, Higuaín; 4-5, Cáceres.
Referee: Carlos Amarilla.
The unsettled Carlos Teves was the Argentina player whose penalty miss knocked them out of the
Tournament in a game that saw both teams reduced to 10 men and Messi take on the captain’s
armband after fellow Barça star Mascherano was sent off rather harshly for a second yellow in the
86th minute. The positive side for Barça is that Messi, Mascherano and Milito will now all report
back a week ahead of what they would have done had Argentina, as expected, reached the final.
Once again, Leo Messi was called on to lift the hosts after they conceded an early
goal to Diego Perez, from a free kick taken by Diego Forlan and the Barça man’s talent,
character and leadership was key to Argentina’s reaction.
Playing as a deep lying right sided attacker, Messi constantly dropped back to look for the
ball and create attacking options and on 17 minutes he sent in a lovely curling cross that Higuain
met to head home the equaliser. The two players combined again a few minutes later, this time from
a free kick, but the Madrid man’s goal was disallowed this time. Argentina took control after
their equaliser though and Uruguay were reduced to a more physical approach as they tried to stem
the tide, with Diego Perez sent off on 38 minutes. Uruguay had chances though and saw a goal
disallowed and a shot hit the woodwork in a thrilling first 45 minutes.
Stalemate broken by penalties
The rhythm dropped after the break, with Argentina dominating possession and
Uruguay happy to defend with their 10 men . Messi nearly put Higuain through on 78 minutes and
immediately afterwards Forlan had the chance to give Uruguay their second, but the 90 minutes ended
1-1. Just before the end, Mascherano saw his second yellow – a rather harsh one – and
so for the final half hour, both teams were down to 10 men.
Extra time followed the same script as the first 90 minutes, with Argentina unable to convert
their possession into goals and Uruguay looking for the counter attack. Higuain hit the woodwork
and Messi had a couple of dangerous efforts, but the Uruguayan keeper Muslera was having the game
of his life and keeping everything out. Indeed, the keeper was the hero of the penalty shootout for
his team, saving Tevez’s penalty and sending Uruguay into the semi finals against Peru.