“Another Copa America starts” Messi ahead of Venezuela match
Lionel Messi says “another Copa America starts” as Argentina face Venezuela in the quarter-finals in Brazil.
Argentina were unconvincing in the group stage, losing to Colombia before drawing 1-1 with Paraguay.
A nervy 2-0 win over Qatar booked a last-eight tie in Rio’s Maracana stadium on Friday (20:00 BST), as Messi, 32, continues his bid for a first senior title with his country.
The Barcelona forward said: “Now starts another Copa, now it’s all or nothing.”
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner added: “We needed a game like that [against Qatar], to gain confidence and to be calm. As the games go by, the team has to grow.”
Coach Scaloni said that victory (against Qatar) had given his side plenty of confidence as they eye the semi-finals.
“We think we’re good because we came from a win that gave us a significant emotional boost,” he told a news conference.
“It’s going to be a difficult game, but we are confident.”
Argentina have dominated Venezuela at the Copa America, winning their five meetings and scoring 28 goals while conceding just three.
But Scaloni said he expected his team to be challenged by a Venezuela side that were unbeaten in Group A.
“Football has evolved,” he said. “Nowadays, every team has difficulty.”