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Messi cleared to play in Copa America semi-final against Canada despite injury concerns

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Argentina captain Lionel Messi will be fit to play in Tuesday’s Copa America semi-final against Canada in New Jersey, despite concerns about his hamstring injury, coach Lionel Scaloni confirmed.

Messi returned to action on Thursday in Argentina’s quarter-final win against Ecuador after missing the final group-stage match due to injury. Although he played the entire game, he appeared physically hampered and missed a penalty in the shootout that decided the game at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

“Leo (Messi) is fine, he finished well, so tomorrow he will be part of the match, we are calm,” Scaloni said in a press conference on Monday ahead of the semi-final clash at MetLife Stadium. “His level looks good. He is essential for us.”

Argentina and Canada will meet for the second time in the tournament after the defending champions beat the CONCACAF side 2-0 in the opening match of Group A.

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Scaloni indicated that both he and his Canadian counterpart, Jesse Marsch, will try “something different” this time.

“All coaches take notes to correct mistakes and hurt our opponents,” the 46-year-old manager said. “Each coach will have to do something different. We will try to have the ball and stop them from playing their game.”

The Argentine boss added that his team will look to counter the physical and aggressive play of Canada, who are coming off a penalty shootout win over Venezuela.

“Canada has players who are physically strong and also technically good, with a coach who has conveyed an aggressive way of playing,” he said. “They have made things difficult for all teams. Physically it’s difficult to match them, but with our assets we hope to play the game on our side.”

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