Lionel Messi says his star-studded Argentina side are “desperate” to end their 22-year wait for a major title by winning the Copa America final against hosts Chile tonight.
The Barcelona forward was in dazzling form as Gerardo Martino’s men dismantled Paraguay 6-1 in their semi-final clash, and the final offers the four-time world player of the year a chance to seal his first international honours.
Despite winning a host of trophies with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old’s international career has not yet reached the same heights. But Messi is adamant his side deserve success after suffering defeat in the 2014 World Cup final.
“This generation is desperate to win a title with the national team,” said the La Albiceleste captain. “As a team, we deserve to win something and it would mean so much after the World Cup where we came so close.”
Sergio Aguero – another component of Martino’s impressive forward line – was on target against Paraguay and has talked up the quality Argentina possess with the likes of Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain lurking on the bench.
“I just try to do my job. Behind me I have Carlitos and I have Pipita [Higuain], they are very good players and that motivates you,” Aguero told La Nacion.
Some detail in La Nacion: Chile players have been – genuinely – looking at tactical moves on a Playstation to see if they work to stop Messi
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) July 3, 2015
“It is good if your place is in demand. We [Aguero and Messi] know that sometimes we will generate, but above all we have to aim not to fail. Chile are one of the best teams in the tournament and it will be a good final.
“It is the second major challenge facing us after Uruguay and they will look to impose themselves on us.”
For Chile and their Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli, the final represents the chance for a first Copa title, having again impressed with a high-energy, pressing game.
Argentina have dominated the sides’ recent meetings but captain Claudio Bravo is hopeful the underdog tag can serve his side well.
“We have never been favourites in any tournament and often it is good for us to feel that, because we are full of energy and enthusiasm,” he said. “The headline of fear or that we were scared was established by the press and not from us.”
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