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Argentina stormed into the Copa America final for the second consecutive year thanks to a comfortable 4-0 win over the United States, as captain Lionel Messi became the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer on Tuesday.
The 14-time South American champions reached the decider of the Copa America Centenario on a night that Messi made more history with his record-breaking 55th international goal.
The Barcelona talisman’s inch-perfect free kick in the 32nd minute saw him surpass Gabriel Batistuta in stunning fashion in Houston.
Jurgen Klinsmann and his team insisted they would not give Messi any special attention, but they quickly had to think twice as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner played a delightful lofted through-ball to Lavezzi, who guided his effort over the onrushing Brad Guzan as the USA attempted to clear its lines.
Messi could not be stopped from that point, dictating the play and helping Argentina dominate possession as USA was forced to watch on in awe, ending the first half 2-0 down and without a shot.
Gerardo Martino’s men picked up where they left off in the second period as in-form striker Gonzalo Higuain beat the off-side trap before tucking in his rebound having been initially denied by Guzan to make it 3-0.
The Napoli striker completed the rout with his second on the night and 31st international goal late-on after tapping in a square ball from the magical Messi.
The Albiceleste – seeking to end a 23-year trophy drought – will now face either
Chile or Colombia in the final.