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  Debate

Debate

Is Messi right to criticize the USA's pitch conditions, or is he just making excuses?

Argentina was successful in putting a full stop to the dream run of Canada in the Copa America 2024. A 2-0 victory against the tournament’s underdogs saw the World Champions book their place into the finals for the second consecutive time. Even though the result suggests that it was a walk in the park for La Albiceleste, Lionel Messi has cleared this delusion, revealing that poor playing conditions at the MetLife Stadium made it a very difficultcontest.

La Pulga wasn’t alone as even the fans on the internet didn’t validate the pitch conditions of the NFL-based stadium. Just like netizens, the 37-year-old didn’t hold back from making his complaint. Speaking to TyC Sports during the post-match interview, Messi said, “This was a very difficult match. Damn, it was so hot and the pitch was very difficult to play on. But we have to enjoy what we were able to do.”

The pitch appeared quite damp today, with water splashes visible with each step the players took. Notably, this issue arose mainly because CONMEBOL had installed natural grass over artificial turf. The installation took place on June 20 for matches scheduled on June 25, June 27, and July 9. However, since it was laid during the tournament’s group stage, the grass has not been replaced. Consequently, upon close inspection, numerous creases are clearly visible on the pitch.

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USA Today via Reuters

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Is Lionel Messi right to be annoyed with the Copa America playing conditions? React!

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The waterlogged pitch made it difficult for speedy players like Alphonso Davies to make runs with the ball. Additionally, the treacherous heat of New Jersey only increased the challenges for both sides. Despite these conditions, Messi and Co. managed to make the best of the situation and secured their ticket to the final.

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Despite setbacks, Lionel Messi and Argentina cruise past Canada

The 2-0 result mirrored the scoreline of the opening group stage match between Argentina and Canada. It seems the Canucks are Julian Alvarez’s favorite opponents, as he found the back of the net again tonight, this time within 22 minutes. Jesse Marsch’s side had their chances but couldn’t find an equalizer before the end of the first half. Interestingly, just minutes after the second half kicked off, Enzo Fernandez struck a powerful shot from outside the box.

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Though it was on target, Lionel Messi deflected the shot into the goal, thus opening his account in the tournament. This strike marked the skipper’s scoring in his sixth Copa America. Meanwhile, Canada’s misery doubled as Alphonso Davies was substituted due to an injury. The final whistle ended their dreams and saw Argentina advance to the last stage of the competition. However, the reigning champions would be hoping to play the finals in better conditions.