Argentina seals top spot in group

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Lionel Messi became Argentina’s most capped international player on Monday, marking the occasion with two goals as he led his national team to a 4-1 win over Bolivia at the Copa America.

The 34-year-old Messi’s 148th appearance for Argentina beat the mark previously held by retired defender Javier Mascherano.

His two goals and one assist helped Argentina ensure top spot in Group A, setting up a quarterfinal against Ecuador on Saturday.

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An Argentina team split between frequent starters and substitutes beat last-place Bolivia easily. Papu Gomez opened the scoring in the sixth minute.

Messi netted the two following goals. The first came from the spot in the 33rd and the second after a beautiful lob over Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe in the 42nd.

Erwin Saavedra scored for Bolivia on the hour but substitute Lautaro Martinez restored the three-goal cushion in the 65th from close range.

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In Rio De Janeiro, Uruguay beat Paraguay 1-0 to finish second in Group A and move into a quarterfinal against Colombia. The result also left Chile to face defending champion and host Brazil in the next stage.

Edinson Cavani scored from the penalty spot in the 21st minute for the only goal of the match. Uruguay would have had to face Brazil if it had lost to Paraguay, which had already secured its place in the knockout phase.

The results: Group A: Argentina 4 (Gomez 6, Messi 33-pen, 42, Martinez 65) bt Bolivia 1 (Saavedra 60); Uruguay 1 (Cavani 21-pen) bt Paraguay 0.

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