In a very impressive performance in which they scored more goals (six) than they did in the previous four games of the tournament (four), Argentina demolished Paraguay. It will be Argentina's third Copa America final in the last four editions of the competition, but they will try to win their first title since 1993. Led by Lionel Messi, who assisted on three goals and could've ended with even more with some better finishing from Javier Pastore, who ended the game with just a single goal. Angel Di Maria also put in a very good showing, scoring a brace and adding an assist.
While the scoreline suggests that Argentina completely destroyed Paraguay, the Los Guaraníes were competitive throughout, but the biggest difference between the two teams was effectiveness in front of goal. Argentina had 15 shots, ten on goal, while Paraguay had 14 shots, but only seven of them on target. It would get worse for Paraguay as they only managed to get one shot past Sergio Romero, while 60% of Argentina's shot on target ended up in the back of then. Also, ten of Argentina's shots were deemed "dangerous", only one Paraguay shot was.
Probably the most surprising statistic from the above infographic, provided by SportsMatrix, is that Paraguay actually launched more attacks that Argentina did. Despite that, only one winner seemed possible from the early stages of the game. The scoring started in the 15th minute when Messi floated a perfect free kick to Marcos Rojo, who finished the play off. Messi created two chances for Pastore over the next 12 minutes, but the PSG forward took only one, the second one. Lucas Barrios made the halftime break interesting with a good shot from the edge of the box after an Argentina turnover to cut La Albiceleste's lead in half.
But Di Maria was quick to set things straight just two minutes after the restart with a calm finish. Six minutes later, Argentina launched a 5-on-3 counter that with one "simple" skip Messi turned into a 5-on-1. Messi passed the ball to Pastore who wasted the chance, but the rebound fell to Di Maria who made no such mistake. Messi continued to be the fulcrum of every Argentine attack, providing key passes left, right and middle. He even had a good chance to score himself, in the 68th minute, but Justo Villar made his best save of the night. Messi would be key for Argentina's last two goals as well, both coming late in the game. First he provided a good pass to Di Maria on the left who went on to assist Sergio Agüero headed goal with a perfect cross. Just minutes later, Messi picked up his last assist of the game, with a lovely through ball for Gonzalo Higuain to finish.
The Copa America Final will be played on July 4 at 5pm local time.