1-4 for Bolivia. Argentina: Player evaluations after Lionel Messi led the Albiceleste to a resounding victory in their final group match | Copa America 2021

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Argentina wrapped up the group stages of the Copa America 2021 with a huge 4-1 victory over minnows Bolivia.

Goals from Alejandro Gomez and Lautaro Martinez either side of a brace from Lionel Messi got the job done for the Albiceleste. Bolivia could only muster a consolation goal from Erwin Saavedra.

Lionel Scaloni’s side found an early breakthrough after Messi brilliantly set up Gomez with a lofted cross. He then netted twice in quick succession with a fine penalty and a beautiful lob in the closing stages of the first-half.

Having raced to a 3-0 lead at the break, the Sky Blues seemed to have already sealed the match. But Saavedra pulled one back for La Verde following a lovely team move.

Bolivia’s faint hopes of a comeback were dashed, however, by substitute Martinez. The Inter Milan striker came off the bench to restore Argentina’s three-goal advantage and put the tie to bed.

Bolivia, who were already eliminated from the competition, finished bottom of Group A without a single point. Argentina, meanwhile, are through to the quarter-finals and will take on Ecuador this Saturday (July 3).

Here are the player ratings for Argentina:


Franco Armani – 7/10

Armani had a relatively straightforward evening in goal for Argentina. He could not do much about the Bolivia goal that involved some excellent play.

Gonzalo Montiel – 6/10

The right-back combined his pace and strength to add a new dimension to Argentina’s attack. He laid down a marker with a staggering 96% passing accuracy.


German Pezzella – 7/10

Pezzella’s ball-playing skills were there for all to see. He laid two long balls and completed 94 of his 96 passes. Pezzella looked solid defensively as well, making one block and an interception each.


Lisandro Martinez – 8/10

Martinez was excellent on the ball and worked hard defensively. He won three aerial duels and made seven clearances on the night, a game-high, to marshal the backline with elan. Martinez could be a long-term solution to Argentina’s defensive issues from the past.


Marcos Acuna – 8/10

Acuna was such a live wire down the flanks. He took the game to Bolivia with his purposeful runs and stretched their defense wide. The Sevilla man linked up well with Messi a few times and laid five crosses in the match (two accurate).


Guido Rodriguez – 7/10

A battering ram that broke down Bolivia’s upfield movements, Rodriguez was a rock in the center of the park. He made three interceptions, whilst also playing a key role in regaining possession. Rodriguez was always looking to get Argentina on the front foot and delivered seven long-balls.


Exequiel Palacios – 7/10

His reading of the game was brilliant as Palacios created two good chances in the game. But he needs to be stronger in possession as he lost the ball eight times.


Angel Correa – 7/10

Correa tested the Bolivian goalkeeper with a fierce shot early on and then helped create Argentina’s opening goal. However, the midfielder’s influence waned in the second-half and was subbed around the hour mark.


Lionel Messi – 9/10

The Argentina skipper recorded an assist for the opening goal, scored their next two and helped create the fourth one too. It was a vintage Leo Messi performance, one that we have grown accustomed to watching over the years

Alejandro Gomez – 8/10

The Sevilla man opened the scoring for Argentina with a delightful volley off Messi’s beautiful chip. Gomez then returned the favor to his captain by winning him a penalty that Messi put away.

Sergio Aguero – 6/10

He demonstrated wonderful vision and execution to pick out Messi’s run and provide the assist for Argentina’s second goal. It is a combination Barcelona fans will be hoping to see more of when club football returns. Aguero himself got two chances, but the former Manchester City man dragged his shots just wide.


Substitutes


Leandro Paredes – 6/10

Paredes replaced Guido Rodriguez for the final 20 minutes. He didn’t do much after coming on but drew a foul out of Diego Wayar in stoppage-time to see the game out.


Nicolas Dominguez – 7/10

Dominguez replaced Palacios in the 71st minute. He wasn’t a direct threat, but kept the ball moving with his accurate passes (23 on 23).


Giovani Lo Celso – 7/10

A decent cameo from Lo Celso, who replaced Correa in the 64th minute. The Spurs midfielder was good on the ball and made two interceptions too.


Lautaro Martinez – 8/10

Martinez got on the scoresheet for the first time in the Copa after replacing Aguero in the 63rd minute. He found the net less than two minutes after coming on, but could’ve had more if Lampe hadn’t produced a superb double-save soon after.

Julian Alvarez – 6/10

He replaced Gomez 10 minutes into the second-half. Alvarez didn’t do much in the time he spent on the pitch, but stationed himself in the final third to cause Bolivia problems.




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