When Lionel Messi declared that Argentina “are not candidates like other times” and that this is a side “going through a process of change,” he wasn’t messing around. The only surprising thing about Argentina’s opening Copa América defeated to Colombia on Saturday night is that Messi himself spurned a glorious opportunity to put La Albiceleste ahead in the 66th minute.
Colombia took full advantage of that miss with Roger Martinez hitting a stunning game-winner in the 71st before Duvan Zapata added the insurance goal in the 86th.
With eight of the 12 competing nations advancing to the quarterfinals, there’s still a lot of Copa left to be played, but it’s impossible to imagine this Argentina side troubling the likes of Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile in the knockout rounds.
Argentina exerted a bit of control in the first half, and there was a little bit of sparkle from Messi when the 31-year-old momentarily looked clear on goal following an impetuous nutmeg, but Colombia cleared the danger.
As ever, a meeting between these rivals generated a bit of nastiness, including 30 fouls and seven yellow cards. One foul on Messi almost triggered a mass brawl.
Shortly after, Messi couldn’t capitalize with a free header from close range.
Five minutes after Messi’s miss, Martinez scored a brilliant effort to put Colombia ahead.
The second from Zapata arrived with Argentina pushing numbers forward in search of an equalizer.
#CA2019Telemundo ¡Qué jugada de gol! gran asistencia de @rogermartinezt9 para que Duvan Zapata definiera como "Killer" y @FCFSeleccionCol sella su triunfo ante la @Argentina pic.twitter.com/loFYMpHYLn
Colombia plays the early match on Wednesday, June 19, against Qatar. Argentina plays Paraguay later in the day. Group B play finishes on Sunday, June 23, with Argentina playing Qatar and Colombia facing Paraguay.