Record-holder Lionel Messi does not want to rest in the Copa America, although Argentina has already secured a place in the quarterfinals The captain of Argentina is one of the few regular starters named on Sunday by coach Lionel Scaloni, who will play with Bolivia in his last match in group A.
The 34-year-old football giants are currently tied with Javier Mascherano with a record 147 appearances for the national team. Messi is ready to take the record straight on Monday at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, when he joined fellow veterans Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria in front.
Messi, who played every minute of Argentina’s matches in the tournament, is chasing his first Copa America trophy with Argentina. Scaloni retained only four players – including Messi – from Argentina’s starting line-up in the 1-0 victory over Paraguay.
“I think everything has been said about Messi,” Scaloni said on Sunday. “We are proud to have him and we are convinced that he will bring us more joy.”
Emiliano Martinez, who has played in every match for Argentina in the tournament so far, will not start against Bolivia. The goalkeeper will be eliminated for the quarterfinals if he receives a new yellow card. Franco Armani takes his place.
Other Argentina players on the bench to avoid potential removal include Lautaro Martinez, Giovanni Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Lucas Martinez Quarta and Joaquin Korea. Argentina leads the group with seven points, followed by Paraguay (6), Chile (5) and Uruguay (4). Bolivia is last with zero points and is already out.
The four best teams in each of the two groups advance to the knockout stages.