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Messi's red card overshadows Argentina's encouraging win and Chile's end of an era

To watch the 2019 Copa America, sign up for ESPN+.
Lionel Messi doesn't feel he should've seen red for the Gary Medel altercation and feels Argentina should've been in the Copa America final.
To watch the 2019 Copa America, sign up for ESPN+
Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner are in agreement Lionel Messi should not have seen red for the incident against Gary Medel.
Steve Nicol says it would be a fitting end to Lionel Messi's Argentina career if he wins the 2020 Copa America on home soil.

Lionel Messi's Argentina career began in 2005 with an absurd red card in a friendly against Hungary after he was adjudged to have thrown an elbow at a defender. Fourteen years later, equally bizarre circumstances saw him sent off for the second time in his career.

With eight minutes to go until half-time in the Copa America's game for third place that Argentina ultimately won 2-1, there is no doubt that he was guilty of a push on Chile's Gary Medel, who responded by repeatedly charging Messi with...

Peru are a team transformed, and ageing Chile have no answer in Copa America semifinal

In March, after Peru beat Paraguay and lost to El Salvador, coach Ricardo Gareca mused that his team "are capable of playing anyone on equal terms. But any other team can do the same to us and can beat us." The Copa America has provided plenty of evidence that he was correct.

In its first four games, Peru found the target in only one. Moreover, in its previous two matches, it did not remotely threaten to score a goal. Did such a team have any right to be taking part in a semifinal? Straight out...

Copa America semifinals: Pressure on Brazil and Argentina, while Chile and Peru play with house money

Steve Nicol says three or four years of playing without a break is catching up with most of Brazil as they underwhelm at Copa America.
Alejandro Moreno says Argentina once again played flat, and a more fundamentally sound Venezuelan team could have taken advantage.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The Gods of Football gifted us two bona fide rivalries in the Copa America semifinals.

Headlining is Brazil vs. Argentina (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+), the "SuperClasico de las Americas" and, in terms of pedigree, one of the few international matchups that lives up to the hype, usually in terms of quality and almost always in terms of incident.

But the "Pacific derby" -- Chile vs. Peru (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+) -- is an intriguing understudy, rich in a rivalry that often...

Chile manager Rueda has been the star of the 2019 Copa America

Who has been the star of the Copa America so far?

Going into the Copa America semifinals, it is hard to think of a truly outstanding player, one who has imposed his quality on the tournament. There is still time, of course, for one to emerge -- and what happens from now on in will weigh heavier than anything that has taken place up to this point.

So far, though, it is difficult to think of anyone who has had a better tournament than Reinaldo Rueda, the Colombian-born coach of Chile.

He took on the...

Chile advance the hard way, while Colombia taste disappointment

Perhaps Chile fans will now stop booing the name of coach Reinaldo Rueda when the line ups are announced in the build up to the kick off.

They certainly should stop booing him. Chile's qualification for the semifinals of the Copa America -- achieved with a penalty shoot out win over his native Colombia -- is his triumph, in which several obstacles had to be overcome. The first was the 8pm kick off -- dangerously early in the gridlocked city of Sao Paulo. Many of the supporters arrived at the stadium...

James Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez playing for club careers at Copa America

Inside the bubble of a major international tournament, it somehow seems wrong -- almost an act of treason -- to be thinking about the club game. The cold fact is, though, that life does not end with the final of the Copa America on July 7, and that the players are rightly concerned with their club careers and the dynamic they will take into the new season. That especially applies to big names in limbo, like two stars on opposing sides of Friday's intriguing quarterfinal clash in Sao Paulo between...