How Lionel Messi Scored His First Copa America 2024 Goal - Video

The goal, a deflection, nonetheless, helped Messi move second in the all-time list of goalscorers in international football

Lionel Messi, Copa America 2024, Argentina vs canada, ap photo
Lionel Messi scores his first goal of Copa America 2024 during Argentina vs Canada semifinal Photo: AP/Pamela Smith

A quiet Lionel Messi is not good for business. The record eight-time Ballon d'Or winner failed to score in his first three Copa America 2024 matches and even missed a penalty kick against Ecuador in the quarter-final. But he found the back of the net against Canada as the defending champions eased through the final. (More Football News)

That goal, a deflection, nonetheless, helped Messi move second in the all-time list of goalscorers in international football -- 109, which is only behind fellow great Cristiano Ronaldo (130), who had probably played his final international tournament for Portugal at the UEFA Euro 2024.

The top-five in the list, for the record, also features Iranian legend Ali Daei (108), India's retired star Sunil Chhetri (94) and Malaysia great Mokhtar Dahari (89).

Messi Means Goals

Expectedly, Argentina dominated Canada at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on their Independence Day (local time), limiting Jesse Marsch's Canada to just two shots on target. Why a South American tournament is being hosted in the United States -- and not for the first time -- is up for debate, though!

But Messi in the USA, co-hosts of the expanded FIFA World Cup 2026, augurs well for everyone. Having said that a quiet Messi, now a local player thanks to his Major League Soccer association via an Apple-fed move to Inter Miami, is detrimental to the global football economy.

At the age of 37, the former Barcelona star still means goals -- the currency which defines this beautiful game. He last scored for La Albiceleste on June 14 against Guatemala in an international friendly. Three games without a goal is a drought for him.

How Did Messi Score His First Copa America 2024 Goal?

A simple nudge, a flick, or a deflection -- in footballing parlance -- was all Messi needed to break that duck.

Following a set-up from Rodrigo De Paul, Julian Alvarez opened the scoring in the 22nd minute by calmly slipping the ball through the legs of Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

Argentina continued to dictate the play, and in the 51st minute, Messi found himself in the right place, just feet away from the goal mouth, and at the right time to make the faintest of touches.

That, however, came after a seemingly routine build-up featuring Messi and Rodrigo De Paul. Messi took control on the right wing, then released it for De Paul, whose subsequent play was poorly handled by Canadian defender Ismael Kone -- a sliding clearance, and the result: a deflection on the path of Enzo Fernandez at the top of the 18-yard box.

Fernandez fired a shot but in the crowded box, the ball made contact with Messi's left foot and it beat the goalkeeper, thus giving the Argentina captain his first goal of the campaign.

Watch The Goal

The Final Date And Bigger Stake

Argentina will face either Uruguay or Colombia in the final (5:30 am IST) at Miami Gardens, Florida, a venue not so far from Inter Miami's home ground. And it presents Lionel Scaloni's men a chance to equal Spain's feat of winning back-to-back continental crowns along with the World Cup.

Spain were the UEFA Euro champions in 2008 and 2012, and those continental triumphs were embellished with a maiden world title in 2010. Argentina lifted the Copa America trophy in 2021, then lifted the World Cup in 2022.

Argentina are also trying to become the most successful team in the Copa America. They are currently tied on 15 titles each with Uruguay. Argentina, however, have more runners-up finishes, 14 to 6.