Copa America 2021: Argentina counting on Lionel Messi and history against Paraguay-Sports News , Firstpost

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Paraguay have never beaten Argentina in 22 games in the South American championship.

Lionel Messi is aiming for his first Copa America trophy with Argentina. AP

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Argentina are looking to Lionel Messi to help them secure a spot in the Copa America knockout stages with a win against Paraguay on Monday.

Argentina top Group A with Chile and will hope for an inspired Messi at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia as the 33-year-old football great seeks his first Copa America trophy with Argentina.

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Argentina and Chile have four points, one more than third-place Paraguay who have a game in hand. Uruguay and Bolivia have zero points.

The top four teams in each group advance to the knockout stages.

“We will play match after match, but it is clear we have a great team and where we can go depends only on ourselves,” said Argentina defender Cristian Romero.

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Messi played a key role in Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Chile and their 1-0 win against Uruguay. Against Paraguay, Messi will be making his 147th appearance for Argentina, equaling the record of Javier Mascherano.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni might not be able to count on midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and winger Nicolás González due to injuries with Exequiel Palacios and Ángel Di María, respectively, as possible replacements.

Paraguay, who beat Bolivia 3-1 in their only match so far, have never beaten Argentina in 22 games in the South American championship.

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