During the CONMEBOL Copa America Venezuela 2007, Argentina was held the most likely candidate to reach the final. After their conclusive wins during the group stage and having knocked out the Peruvian squad with 4-0 score during quarters, they had to face the Mexican national team which, in spite of their short tradition in this competition, had also recorded a great performance. This match promised to be a defying occasion for the team defending the Argentine colors.
Argentina would stand on the field Abbondanzieri, Zanetti, Ayala, G. Milito, Heinze, Cambiasso, Mascherano, Verón, Riquelme, Messi and Tevez. In front of them, the Mexican team was formed by Sánchez, Castro, Magallón, Márquez, Pinto, Torrado, Guardado, Arce, Correa, Cacho and Castillo.
The encounter score opened only during the last minutes of the first half, after a free kick from middle field: Gabriel Heinze so that he, with his left foot, placed the ball on the first post after the Mexican goalkeeper had made a bad move forward. Argentina went to the half-time with 1-0 lead, although Mexico had deserved more than that.
For the second half, Mexico started accelerating the game, but thanks to good interventions of Roberto “el Pato” Abbondanzieri, and a little luck under the goal posts, Argentina could keep its advantage. Sixty minutes into the match Carlos Tevez assisted Lionel Messi who, with an exhibition of extreme ability played an excellent “head shot ” over Oswaldo Sánchez and took the score to 2-0.
From then on, the story changed; five minutes later, after a master soccer exhibition Messi was pushed down inside the box and referee Carlos Chandía applied a penalty. Juan Román Riquelme took the shot and with a subtle caress, “punched” the ball to make it go in through the middle of the goal. That was the final hit that took Argentina to a new final match.
In that match, the Argentine National Team deployed the exceptional soccer that made it the favorite. This contest is remembered as one of the best of those played in the history of a CONMEBOL Copa America edition, because not only did its players shine bright, but it also was the second time in a row for them to reach the finals in the world’s oldest national teams’ competition.
Follow the complete match on our Facebook!
Check out the match summary on our Youtube!
Semifinal Copa América Venezuela 2007
Date: July 14, 2007
Score: Argentina 3 – 0 Mexico
Goals: Gabriel Heinze (44’), Lionel Messi (61’) and Juan Román Riquelme
Olympic Stadium – Venezuela Central University (Caracas)