Argentina vs Canada: Preview and Prediction

Canada will hope to spring another shock when they take on defending champions Argentina in the first Copa America 2024 semi-final.

In a rematch of the opening game at the Copa America, Canada have the opportunity to become the second CONCACAF side to reach the final of this competition. On Tuesday, they face the reigning champions Argentina at MetLife Stadium. Both teams advanced to the semi-finals through penalty shootouts; Argentina overcame Ecuador, and Canada edged Venezuela, with both matches ending 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Argentina’s journey to the semi-finals has been marked by the performances of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Their victory over Ecuador in the quarter-finals means this is their fifth successive trip to the semi-finals of the Copa America. The Albiceleste have a strong record at this stage, advancing in seven of their previous eight attempts, only faltering against Brazil in 2019.

A win on Tuesday would allow Argentina to reach the Copa America final as defending champions for the first time since 1959. Lionel Scaloni’s men have been defensively solid, conceding just once in the tournament. However, they have not maintained a clean sheet in the Copa America semi-finals since 2016 when they thrashed the USA 4-0.

Argentina are unbeaten in their last nine matches across all competitions, conceding only three goals in that span. Historically, they have not lost a major tournament match in the United States since their 3-2 defeat to Romania in the 1994 World Cup round of 16.

Since losing their first match of the tournament to Argentina, Canada have shown significant improvement, conceding only once in their last three games. Jesse Marsch’s team is only the third CONCACAF side to reach the Copa America semi-finals in their debut appearance, following in the footsteps of Honduras and Mexico. They are also the first CONCACAF team to make it this far since the USA in 2016.

Canada’s current run marks their fifth semi-final appearance in a continental tournament this century, having advanced beyond this stage twice in the 2023 Nations League and the 2000 Gold Cup. They aim to emulate Mexico’s 2001 Copa America run when Mexico reached the final, ultimately losing to Colombia.

Argentina will rely on their strong defensive record and the tactical acumen of Lionel Scaloni. Their backline, supported by Emiliano Martinez’s goalkeeping, has been formidable. Offensively, the team has shown they can score crucial goals, particularly in the second half.

Canada, under Jesse Marsch, have become a more disciplined and resilient side. Their ability to adapt and improve defensively has been crucial. Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies will be key players for Canada, tasked with breaking down Argentina’s defence. The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this clash.

Team News & Tactics


After missing their final group fixture as a precaution due to a sore hamstring, Lionel Messi returned to action for Argentina against Ecuador in the quarter-finals. He was paired with a new attacking partner, as Lautaro Martinez, the tournament’s top scorer with four goals, started over Julian Alvarez for the second consecutive match.

In the quarter-finals, Angel Di Maria was notably an unused substitute for the first time in the 2024 Copa America, perhaps with an eye on the upcoming fixtures. Lionel Scaloni should proceed with a 4-3-3 formation with the rock-solid Emiliano Martínez in goal.

He should be protected by the experienced and stingy backline of Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Lisandro Martinez, and Marcos Acuna. Leandro Paredes should hold the fort in the midfield, giving Alexis Mac Allister and Rodrigo De Paul the freedom to push forward.

Lionel Messi should partner Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez upfront but will be expected to drop deeper and act as the number 10 when needed. Having De Paul on the right over Angel Di Maria will offer the Argentine right flank better protection against Canada’s left where Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies can run riot.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Molina, Romero, Lisandro Martinez, Acuna; Mac Allister, Paredes, De Paul; Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Alvarez

Argentina vs Canada: Preview and Prediction.


Tajon Buchanan remains doubtful for Canada after the Inter Milan winger suffered a broken tibia during training just days before their match with Venezuela. This injury puts his participation in the semi-final clash against Argentina in serious doubt, leaving a significant gap in the Canadian lineup.

Jesse Marsch has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from for the clash. Despite falling in the campaign opener to Argentina, Canada showed they have the minerals to compete and could catch the defending champions off guard if taken lightly.

Canada are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Maxime Crepeau in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Alistair Johnston, Moise Bombito, Derek Cornelius, and  Alphonso Davies.

Stephen Eustaquio and Jonathan Osorio should hold the fort in central midfield as the double pivot, freeing up Jonathan David to act as the playmaker while also aiming to find the back of the net. Cyle Larin should start up front, with Richie Laryea and Jacob Shaffelburg providing the width.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Crepeau; Johnston, Bombito, Cornelius, Davies; Osorio, Eustaquio; Laryea, David, Shaffelburg; Larin
Argentina vs Canada: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • Canada have not conceded a first-half goal in their last nine competitive fixtures.
  • Canada have been outscored 7-1 in their last six matches in the second half.
  • Argentina are unbeaten in their last nine matches across all competitions.
  • A win on the night will see Argentina make the final of the Copa America for the sixth time in the last eight editions of the competition.
  • Argentina have never conceded a goal to Canada and have won both of their encounters by a gross scoreline of 7-0.
  • Argentina successfully defended their Copa America title most recently in 1947.

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

Embed from Getty Images

Having missed his penalty in the shootout win over Ecuador, Messi will be raring to set the record straight against Canada. The veteran attacker, having recovered from his knock, is expected to turn up the heat and lead his nation to a third straight major final.

Messi’s ability to drop deep and link up with Alexis Mac Allister will open up opportunities for both Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez to exploit. This should form the crux of Argentina’s build-up play going forward. This will be especially important against a Canadian side who have upped their defensive game in this tournament.


Argentina 2-1 Canada

Both teams have enjoyed campaigns built on defensive solidity this summer. The competition opener in Group A will already have given them a taste of each other and was in fact a much closer clash than the scoreline would otherwise suggest. Given what is at stake, we can expect another close game with Argentina’s habit of scoring late second-half goals once again deciding the tie.

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