Argentina moves on to Copa America knockout stage after 3-0 win over Bolivia

SEATTLE — Top-ranked Argentina finished atop Group D with a convincing 3-0 victory over the 82nd-ranked Bolivian side. Argentina moves on to the knockout stage and will face Venezuela in Foxborough, Mass., June 18.

Lionel Messi enters the match to open the second half in Seattle. (John Zielonka / SportsOutWest)

Lionel Messi enters the match to open the second half in Seattle. (John Zielonka / SportsOutWest)

Without Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (the competition’s co-leading scorer with three goals in two matches) in the starting lineup, Argentina sealed the easy win by scoring three goals in a 19-minute span in the opening half of play.

Erik Lamela’s free kick in the 13th minute hit a player in the Bolivian wall and flew into the net for the first goal of the game. Two minutes later, Ezequiel Lavezzi used a right-footed shot to double Argentina’s lead. Victor Cuesta made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute from inside the six yard box area. Lavezzi notched his second point of the match on Cuesta’s goal.

The 45,753 fans at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field greeted Messi’s appearance to open the second half with a rousing roar. Those in attendance gasped as Messi’s left-footed free kick from outside the box sailed around the left post with less than 30 minutes remaining in the match.

Despite a scoreless second half, Argentina dominated the entire game. They finished with a 6-1 edge in shots-on-goal and a 86-14% possession advantage.

Link to the game highlights:

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John Zielonka

John Zielonka has covered the Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Seahawks and University of Washington men's basketball and football. He's written for Yahoo! Sports, 710 ESPN Seattle, and is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters.


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