If there ever was a blemish on a remarkable career it is Messi’s failure to lend a major trophy with Argentina. This might just be corrected by the time the Copa America is finished. Argentina won flatteringly by 3-0 but that doesn’t tell the full story. Messi missing a golden gift from Ecuador’s midfielder who tried to play the back pass to his goalkeeper from the half way line on 22 minutes. The attempted suicide was only stopped by the post. Players do not go for the nutmeg on the keeper often in those situations(similar to the chance squandered by Muller vs England). There were some heart stopping moments for that Argentine defense which has traditionally struggled in big games. Former Hammer Ener Valencia should have buried the header with Villa keeper Martinez to beat.

Then came the Argentina opener on minute 39. The Ecuador keeper’s great tackle was not backed up by his defenders who should have covered the goal line better. Watch number 3 for Ecuador Hincapie go away from his position on the line to try to cut off the shot which was great play by him but where were the others? Ener Valencia has to improve his heading ability after watching this clip I am convinced of that. Ecuador were the better side for long swaths of the match but my goodness their defensive was school boyish. Look at Inter man Lautaro’s goal for 2-0 Argentina. Contrary to the past, center backs are now required to be great with the ball on their feet but that man Hincapie losing the ball so cheaply, infuriating. Anyone of Di Maria, Messi and Lantauro could have finished that off. Hincapie’s nightmare will end with a red card two minutes to time. He was adjudged, harshly I must say of bringing down Di Maria to prevent a goal scoring opportunity. It wasn’t a goal scoring chance, the PSG man had mountains to do and there was a covering defender with the Ecuador number 3.

No question of whether it was a penalty or not. No penalty. But Messi didn’t need it. He smacked it past Ecuador keeper Galindez to put a gloss on the scoreline. Argentina through to the semis to face Colombia who shocked Uruguay on penalties in their quarter final.