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Messi by the numbers on 28th birthday

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Baier: Argentina wake-up call

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 By Tim Vickery

Copa America final the biggest game of Jorge Sampaoli's impressive career

Chile head coach Jorge Sampaoli says his side have fulfilled their dream in reaching the Copa America final

Either Chile will finally have something to put in their trophy cabinet, or Argentina will have ended a 22-year wait for a senior title. There is plenty at stake in the Copa America final, but for one man, the question is even more important.

Chile will probably have other chances to win something in the future; Argentina surely will have. But for Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, this is the match, the one that he has spent his entire professional life preparing for and imagining.

The little man is...

Messi's moment as Argentina vs. Chile promises epic Copa America final

Lionel Messi has said he is excited to play in his third national team final, but insisted it will be very difficult.

SANTIAGO, Chile -- One way or another, history will be made. Old taboos will fall and with them, some long-time preconceptions, too.

Should Chile win the Copa America on Saturday, it will be the first time that they'll lift the continental competition after 99 years and 37 attempts. On four occasions they finished as runners-up. As history would have it, the most cruel of those was 60 years ago. It came in this very stadium, against this very opponent.

Back then, the Copa America was known as the...

 By Tim Vickery

Argentina thrash Paraguay to set up a fascinating final vs. Chile

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno reacts to Argentina's convincing 6-1 win over Paraguay, now advancing for their first Copa America final since 1993.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno completely disagrees with the SPI which currently favours Chile with a 63 percent chance of winning Copa America over Argentina.

CONCEPCION, Chile -- When Lucas Barrios lashed home with his left foot to score for Paraguay five minutes before halftime, the thought occurred that this semifinal versus Argentina might follow the same script as the rousing group match between the same sides a little more than two weeks ago.

In La Serena, Argentina had opened up a two-goal lead before Paraguay, who had at one stage seemed down and out, came roaring back to snatch a heroic draw. In Concepcion, once again Argentina went 2-0 up. Surely,...

Lionel Messi inspires Argentina vs. Paraguay and into Copa America final

Argentina captain Lionel Messi was delighted with his side's display as they destroyed Paraguay 6-1 to advance to the Copa America final.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno reacts to Argentina's convincing 6-1 win over Paraguay, now advancing for their first Copa America final since 1993.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Argentina's complete performance against Paraguay, led by Angel Di Maria's two goals and assist.

CONCEPCION, Chile -- Lionel Messi has not scored from open play for Argentina in a competitive game in more than a year. That's 945 minutes, since his second goal against Nigeria back in the final group game of the World Cup.

What's more, if you include friendlies but discount the two goals he scored in a 7-0 pummeling of Hong Kong -- ranked 164 by FIFA -- in October of last year, then the streak is even longer, surpassing 1,200 minutes. That's more than 13 games, more than a third of a club season.

ArgentinaArgentina
ParaguayParaguay
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Messi guides Argentina to dominating victory over Paraguay

Lionel Messi has said he is excited to play in his third national team final, but insisted it will be very difficult.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno reacts to Argentina's convincing 6-1 win over Paraguay, now advancing for their first Copa America final since 1993.

CONCEPCION, Chile -- Three observations from Argentina's comprehensive 6-1 victory over Paraguay in the Copa America semifinals.

1. Argentina deliver a performance for the ages

It was a perfect performance that this Argentina generation had waited a decade for, and it means they are now on the brink of ending a 22-year trophy drought.

That all may come together in glorious fashion in Saturday's Copa America final, just as Gerardo Martino's side so breathtakingly came together here. Argentina...

Carlos Tevez should replace Sergio Aguero for Argentina vs. Paraguay

Argentina head coach Tata Martino believes his side have a clear vision for their Copa America semi-final with Paraguay
Take a "By The Numbers" look ahead of the Copa America semifinals, where Argentina aim to advance to a 27th Copa America final and Arturo Vidal hopes to lead Chile on a historic run.

It's already being described as one of the images of Argentina's Copa America, and could yet come to represent so much more.

Four years after Carlos Tevez missed the key penalty in the quarterfinal of the 2011 tournament against Paraguay, and after a long spell in which it was so often said that Lionel Messi ensured he was exiled from the squad, the Argentine public's two most popular players so joyously embraced after the former had now scored the victorious spot-kick at the same stage.

Friday...