Argentina 2-0 Canada: Player ratings as reigning Copa America champions cruise past Canada

  • Argentina opened Copa America 2024 against Canada in Group A clash
  • Messi records an assist against the first-ever Copa America participants
  • Canada have yet to find a win under Jesse Marsch
Argentina defeated Canada 2-0 in their first Copa America 2024 match.
Argentina defeated Canada 2-0 in their first Copa America 2024 match. / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/GettyImages

Lionel Messi and Argentina kicked off their Copa America 2024 campaign against Canada, and the reigning champions reminded the world just why they are the favorites to win the tournament after a 2-0 win over Jesse Marsch's side.

Argentina began their celebrations at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before their match even kicked off. Sergio Aguero presented the 2021 Copa America trophy in front of an overwhelmingly pro-Argentine crowd, and then La Albiceleste took the pitch and started their quest to go back-to-back.

How the game unfolded

Argentina dominated possession in the first half, controlling the pace of the game as Canada held a high line and looked for opportunities on the counter attack. The first big chance of the night came in the 8th minute after Kone misplayed a ball in his own half, gifting Di Maria the opportunity to fly up the pitch completely unmarked. Crepeau was quick off his line, though, and closed down the angle to make a great save.

Argentina found a few more half-chances in the first 45 minutes, but it was Canada that ended the half looking the more dangerous side thanks to flashes from Buchanan and Davies. Emiliano Martinez even denied a dangerous header from Eustaquio right before both teams retreated down the tunnel, deadlocked at 0-0.

Argentina came out of halftime with a renewed focus, finding the game's opening goal in just the 48th minute. Mac Allister was through on goal from a clever Messi ball before the Liverpool midfielder collided with Crepeau, leaving Alvarez free to slot home a right-footed shot without the goalkeeper upright.

Lionel Scaloni's men never looked out of control in the second half, even when Canada showed signs of promise on the attack. A second goal felt inevitable for Argentina, especially after Messi missed two chances he would normally bury. Lautaro Martinez, the 76th minute substitute, gave his best case for a position in the starting XI after effortlessly linking up with the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner to seal the game just two minutes before stoppage time.

Argentina player ratings vs Canada (4-3-3)

Julian Alvarez
Julian Alvarez scored his first goal of his Copa America 2024 campaign in the 48th minute. / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

GK: Emiliano Martínez - 7/10 - The 2022 World Cup Golden Glove winner was not tested too often tonight, but came up big when Argentina needed.

RB: Nahuel Molina - 7/10 - Molina had an uneventful night on the right side of the pitch, but the defender made hardly any mistakes.

CB: Cristian Romero - 8/10 - Romero used his physicality to bully David off the ball multiple times and helped minimize Canada's chances in the final third.

CB: Lisandro Martínez - 7/10- Martínez helped Romero keep a clean sheet and also pitched in with a few pinpoint long balls forward. He almost awarded Canada a penalty in the 71th minute, though, but the poor challenge was just outside the box.

LB: Marcos Acuna - 6/10 - Acuna did well to find space and engage in the attack in the first half, but had a rather forgetful second half that could lead to Tagliafico claiming the starting spot back next match.

CM: Rodrigo de Paul - 6/10 - Rodrigo de Paul had an average night for La Albiceleste. He gave up a few costly fouls and was shown a yellow card for a blatant handball, but he also contributed to the attack, finding Mac Allister with a nice cross in the first half.

CM: Leandro Paredes - 7/10 - Paredes' contributions will not always appear on the scoresheet, but the midfielder helped Argentina control the game, and always stepped in when he needed to help out on defense.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - 7/10 - Mac Allister assisted Alvarez's opening goal and paid for his contribution with a collision into Crepeau.

RW: Ángel Di María - 7/10 - Di Maria was the most active player on the pitch in the first half for Argentina, but he should have buried at least one of his glaring chances.

ST: Lionel Messi - 7/10 - Messi provided the assist for both of Argentina's goals, but he could not finish two blistering counter attacks in the 64th minute and the 78th minute.

LW: Julián Álvarez - 8/10 - Alvarez took advantage of his start tonight, scoring Argentina's opening goal and using his pace to cut in behind Canada's lackadaisical defense.


Giovanni Lo Celso - 5/10 - Lo Celso played a relatively quiet 27 minutes, and ended the game with a yellow card.

Lautaro Martinez - 8/10 - Martinez made an almost instant impact on the pitch, linking up with Messi and scoring Argentina's second goal in the 87th minute.

Nicolas Otamendi - 5/10 - The former starter came on in the 81st minute and didn't have to do much.

Nicolas Tagliafico - 5/10 - The once starting left-back for La Albiceleste only played 6 minutes.


Lionel Scaloni - 8/10 - Scaloni made the right decision starting Lisandro Martínez at center-back over Otamendi as the Manchester United defender looked in perfect harmony with Romero. The manager also opted to start Paredes and Mac Allister in the midfield while leaving Enzo Fernandez on the bench, a controversial decision that paid off.

Argentina's win will not prevent Scaloni from more tough decisions in the future of the tournament. Both Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scored tonight, giving their manager quite the headache heading into Argentina's match against Chile.