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Barcelona

Copa America 2021 – Lionel Messi responds to Neymar after Argentina set up final with Brazil


Lionel Messi predicted a tough showdown between Argentina and Brazil in the Copa America final and the Barcelona star cannot wait to face off against Neymar.

Argentina beat Colombia on penalties in the semi-final on Tuesday night, with Messi and goalkeeper Emi Martinez playing a starring role.

Neymar said before the game he hoped Brazil would be playing Argentina in the final and Messi responded to the comments from his former team-mate after his side beat Colombia.

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“Both of us are in the final, I know Neymar said it because we are friends and he wanted me to be there too,” Messi said.

“It will surely be very close and difficult. We are aiming high, we managed to get the first objective of playing the final, playing all matches.

Now we are aiming higher than ever, we are going to seek that Copa.

Messi set up Argentina’s opener after just seven minutes before Luis Diaz scored an impressive equaliser from a tight angle for Colombia in the 61st minute.

Martinez saved three penalties in the shoot-out with Messi leading the wild celebrations after the goalkeeper’s heroics.

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Messi and Martinez adopted a taunting strategy to throw Colombia off their game in the shoot-out, with the playmaker mocking Yerry Mina as he stepped up to take his kick before telling him, “Dance now. Dance now,” when he missed his shot.

Argentina’s players celebrate at the end of the Conmebol 2021 Copa America football tournament semi-final match against Colombia

Image credit: Getty Images

Martinez was in tears after the final spot-kick and paid tribute to Messi after the match, predicting he can lead Argentina to victory against Brazil.

“This is a matter of luck, today it was mine. Brazil is a great team, the favourite,” Martinez said.

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But we have a great coach, we have the best player in the world and we will try to win it.

Messi was excellent during the game, but a nervous wreck during the penalty shoot-out as TV cameras followed his every move.

Cameras spotted Messi was carrying what appeared to be a painful injury on his ankle, with blood seeping through his sock.

Argentina are chasing their first major piece of silverware since 1993 as Messi aims to finally add an international trophy to his collection.

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