HomeSportsFootballScaloni: Messi is fit to play Copa America semi-final

Scaloni: Messi is fit to play Copa America semi-final

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Despite injury concerns, Lionel Scaloni is adamant that Lionel Messi is fit to play in their Copa America semi-final against Canada.

The Argentina captain sustained a hamstring injury in their second group game against Chile, forcing him out of the following match against Peru.

However, Messi returned for their quarter-final meeting with Ecuador, notably missing the first spot-kick in the penalty shootout, which they won thanks to two Emiliano Martinez saves.

After Messi admitted he “trained with fear” ahead of his return from injury against La Tricolor, Scaloni has brushed off any worries about his star man’s fitness.

“99% of the time, [Messi] is fit to play,” Scaloni said. “It’s never happened to me that he’s not fit to play.

“Every time he’s come out on the pitch, he’s fit to play. For [Canada], he’s fit to play, without a doubt.

“It’s a very easy decision for me, because it’s a very frank decision, that if he’s fine, he plays; and if he’s not fine, he plays the last 30 minutes. It’s that easy.

“It’s true that that won’t ever weigh on me. I know what he can give us even if he’s not in optimal condition. I wouldn’t make the grave mistake of not putting him on the pitch knowing that he gives us a lot, so that’s indisputable.”

Argentina opened their Copa America title defence with a 2-0 victory over Canada on June 20.

Scaloni acknowledged the benefit of that first meeting, though conceded Jesse Marsch was unlikely to take the same approach in a bid to reach the final.

“Canada has players who are physically strong and also technically good, with a coach who has conveyed an aggressive way of playing,” he added.

“They have made things difficult for all teams. Physically, it’s difficult to match them, but with our assets, we hope to play the game on our side.

“All coaches take notes to correct mistakes and hurt our opponents. Each coach will have to do something different. We will try to have the ball and stop them from playing their game.”

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