Copa America: Facing Lionel Messi And Argentina Is A ‘Privilege’ For Canada – Jesse Marsch

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FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Leeds United - The City Ground, Nottingham, Britain - February 5, 2023 Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Canada men’s national team head coach Jesse Marsch called his team’s Copa América semifinal match against Lionel Messi and Argentina a “privilege” before confirming the defensive plan to limit the Argentine forward when they meet on Tuesday.

“We didn’t do well enough with Messi last match, he was able to run free at our goalkeeper too much,” Marsch said. “We won’t man mark, but we will certainly place an emphasis on how to defend him. How to keep track of him will be really important, and the things that make it difficult for him like limiting his space is our number one thing.

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“We don’t want him to run free at our backline like last game. But we all know he’s the greatest player to ever play the game, the respect we have for him and certainly the stadium will reflect that tomorrow, but it’s always a privilege to play against a player like him.”

Messi will start for Argentina against Canada, giving Lionel Scaloni’s offense confidence and presenting a threat to the other Concacaf teams in the competition.

“Our players will be up for it, and excited,” Marsch added. “The challenge is big. We’ll see if we can do better than we did in the first match.”

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The two teams first faced each other on June 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where they opened the Copa América on Tuesday. Despite Argentina’s 2-0 victory in the opening game, Scaloni stated that the first round outcome against the Canadians is not very significant in terms of semifinal preparation.

We don’t know [if facing them a second time is an advantage or disadvantage],” Scaloni said. “It was like with Ecuador, the game was completely different from our friendly. Every coach takes notes and corrects mistakes. Every coach and team will do something different, we will be behind the ball and try for them not to execute their plan.

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“They have players that are important physically, and technically good. They have a coach that transmitted an aggressive style of play, they pressure you and make you play on the outside. They are a good team that has complicated things for several teams. And we hope tomorrow things go our way.

“With our weapons, we hope to make things go our way tomorrow.”

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PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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