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COPA AMERICA: Messi, Higuain on fire as Argentina hammer USA

Argentina are into the final of the 2016 Copa America courtesy of a convincing 4-0 semi-final win over the USA in Houston.

The world's number one ranked side dominated proceedings at the NRG Stadium to progress to their third straight final at a major tournament, following defeats at the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America.

Tata Martino's side raced away with an early goal when Lionel Messi chipped a delightful ball into the area allowing Ezequiel Lavezzi to loop a clever header over US keeper Brad Guzan in just the 3rd minute.

Just after the half-hour mark, Messi produced a superb curling free-kick into the top right corner to make it 2-0 while breaking Gabriel Batistuta's old scoring record of 54 national team goals for La Albiceleste.

It was also the Barcelona maestro's fifth of the tournament, which has him just one behind Chile's Eduardo Vargas, who currently leads the Golden Boot race.

Five minutes into the second half, Gonzalo Higuain added a third when getting a second attempt to put the ball into the back of the net after Guzan made a quality save to deny his initial attempt.

The Napoli star then helped himself to another on 86 minutes when the unselfish Messi slotted into this path in the area, allowing Higuain to fire home with consummate ease.

Argentina will now look to exact revenge on last year's loss to Chile when they take on the winner of Wednesday's semi-final between Colombia and the Chileans in the 2016 Copa America final at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday.

For Jurgen Klinsmann's US side, they will play the loser of the other semi-final in the thad-place playoff at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday.


2016 Copa America - semi-final

USA: 0
Argentina: 4 (Ezequiel Lavezzi 3', Lionel Messi 32', Gonzalo Higuain 50'86')
NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas - 70,858


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Andrew Slevison
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