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Argentina, Chile enter Copa America semis in style

By The Assam Tribune

FOXBOROUGH, June 19: Argentina and Chile advanced to the semifinals of the Copa America on Saturday with Chile beating Mexico 7-0 and Lionel Messi getting a goal in Argentina�s 4-1 win over Venezuela to equal his country�s all-time scoring record.

Messi scored in the 60th minute to take his career tally for Argentina to 54 goals, matching the record held by Gabriel Batistuta.

Argentina will now face the United States in the first semifinal on Tuesday in Houston.

Reigning champions Chile joined them in the last four after a 7-0 demolition of Mexico in Santa Clara.

Hoffenheim striker Eduardo Vargas scored four goals to help them set up a semifinal date with Colombia on Wednesday.

Messi won the Man-of-the-Match award in an action-packed game against underdogs Venezuela in Foxborough.

Argentina got off to the perfect start after just seven minutes when Gonzalo Higuain dived to turn a delicate cross from Messi past goalkeeper Dani Hernandez.

The in-form Napoli striker doubled the lead 20 minutes later when he latched on to a slack back pass to round the goalkeeper and slot the ball into the empty net.

Messi, who started for the first time in the tournament after three substitute appearances, put Argentina 3-0 ahead when he worked a lovely one-two with Nicolas Gaitan and then poked the ball under Hernandez with his left foot.

Venezuela were not out of it, though, and Rondon got the lightest of touches on a cross to head home and make it 3-1 after 70 minutes.

However, their hopes were short lived as just seconds later Erik Lamela, who had been on the field for only four minutes, shot home from 12 yards to make it 4-1 for Argentina.

Chile thrash Mexico

Eduardo Vargas scored four goals as holders Chile sent Mexico spinning to a historic 7-0 defeat to reach the semi-finals of the Copa America Centenario Saturday.

Hoffenheim forward Vargas completed a hat-trick in 13 devastating minutes either side of half-time to send Chile into a semi-final against Colombia in Chicago on Wednesday.

The drubbing was Mexico�s worst ever defeat in the finals of a major tournament. Their previous biggest loss was a 6-0 rout by West Germany at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

The rout was also only one goal away from equalling Mexico�s heaviest ever defeat in any international, an 8-0 thrashing by England in London in 1961.

Vargas grabbed his fourth goal in the 74th minute to give Chile a 6-0 lead.

But the punishment did not finish there with Edson Puch adding a seventh in the 88th minute for his second of the match.

Chile, winners of last year�s Copa America on home soil, had faced an intimidating atmosphere in front of a crowd of 70,547 people at the Levi�s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.

But despite the overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd, Chile were quicker to settle, with Puch opening the scoring on 16 minutes when he steered in a rebound from Marcelo Diaz�s shot after Guillermo Ochoa could only parry away. � Agencies

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