Former Leeds United boss sees Copa America dream ended by Lionel Messi

Jesse Marsch, the former Leeds United manager, was powerless to stop his Canada national team falling to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the semi-final of the Copa America.

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

Just reaching the last four is a significant achievement for Marsch, who is in his first job since being sacked by Leeds United in their Premier League relegation season of 2022/23.

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Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni described Canada as “a very difficult opponent”.

Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni (L) greets Canada's US coach Jesse Marsch (Picture: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni (L) greets Canada's US coach Jesse Marsch (Picture: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni (L) greets Canada's US coach Jesse Marsch (Picture: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Having steered Argentina to the 2021 Copa America and World Cup a year later, he 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.”

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

Lionel Messi of Argentina drives the ball against Liam Millar and Stephen Eustaquio of Canada during the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 semi-final match at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Picture: Al Bello/Getty Images)Lionel Messi of Argentina drives the ball against Liam Millar and Stephen Eustaquio of Canada during the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 semi-final match at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Picture: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi of Argentina drives the ball against Liam Millar and Stephen Eustaquio of Canada during the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 semi-final match at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Picture: Al Bello/Getty Images)

“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”.

Another former Leeds United manager could meet them in the final with Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay taking on Colombia at 1am UK time on Thursday.

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