The quarter-finals of the Copa America 2021 on the morning of July 4 is an opportunity for Lionel Messi to equal or even surpass Pele’s record of scoring for the national team in South America.

* Argentina – Ecuador: 8 am on Sunday 4/7, Hanoi time, on VnExpress.

Pele holds the record for most goals for a national team in South America with 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil. However, this record of “King of football” will soon be broken by junior Messi.

With a brace in the 4-1 win over Bolivia in the last match of Group A Copa America 2021, Messi has 75 goals for Argentina, thereby approaching Pele’s milestone. The 34-year-old star leads the list of top scorers with three goals, and is the one with the most assists – three times. With such a sublime performance, Messi can equal or break Pele’s record in the quarter-final against Ecuador.

Messi stands before the opportunity to score another record.  Photo: AP

Messi stands before the opportunity to score another record. Image: AP

The 4-1 victory over Bolivia also helped Messi break Javier Mascherano’s record to become the most capped Argentina player, with 148 times. With 75 goals, Messi also broke the record for the most goals in the history of Argentina, when far ahead of the former player Gabriel Batistuta, with 54 goals in 77 games.

Messi was in high form, Argentina also sublimated when they easily got to the top of Group A. They didn’t start well when they let Chile hold 1-1 in the opening match, but the more they kicked, the better. “Albicelestes” then defeated Uruguay and Paraguay with the same score of 1-0, before crushing Bolivia 4-1 in the final match.

In contrast to the opponent, Ecuador had to work very hard to pass the group stage. They entered the quarterfinals with a winless record, including three draws and one loss, and only placed fourth in Group B. Ecuador is also the team with the worst record to be in the quarterfinals of the Copa America 2021. Furthermore, coach Gustavo Alfaro’s army has not won six consecutive matches in all competitions.

At the end of 2020, Argentina and Ecuador clashed in the 2022 World Cup qualifier – South America. This match, Argentina won easily thanks to the only goal of Messi.

A win for Argentina, even by a big margin, is expected. But what fans want to see is Messi scoring at least two goals to equal Pele’s super record.

Hong Duy

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