Messi shines as Argentina cruises to convincing victory over Guatemala

The Argentina national team, which claimed victory at the 2022 World Cup and 2021 Copa America, is as stacked and star-studded as any squad in the sport. They’ve got Emi Martinez in net. Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister controlling and patrolling the midfield. Angel Di Maria, Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez providing more than enough offensive prowess and firepower. Oh, and they’re still captained by the immortal Lionel Messi.

Messi and Martinez each scored twice in a comfortable 4-1 victory over Guatemala at Commanders Field. With his 108th international goal, Messi tied Iran’s Ali Daei for second-place all-time on the men’s international goal-scorers list.

Guatemala jumped out to an early lead, thanks to a Lisandro Martinez own goal in the fourth minute. But Messi evened the score just eight minutes later when he intercepted an errant pass by Guatemala goalie Nicholas Hagen and walked it into an empty net for one of the easiest goals of his illustrious career.

After 19-year-old forward Valentin Carboni was taken down in Guatemala’s box, Martinez converted the penalty kick to give Argentina a 2-1 lead. Martinez struck again in the 66th minute, slotting home from close-range after a deft pass from Messi. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner closed out the scoring 11 minutes later, with an assist from Di Maria.

As Messi and friends aim to claim a second consecutive Copa America, this tune-up went about as smoothly as possible. And although Messi turns 37 this month, the superstar is showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, Messi has scored 50 of his 108 international goals since turning 30, which should serve as notice to the rest of the field.

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