Victory of the Week: Colombia Defeats Messi, Argentina in Copa America Opener

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIJune 16, 2019

Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts during a Copa America Group B soccer match at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Saturday, June 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

Victory of the Week is presented by Walmart.

Colombia opened their 2019 Copa America campaign with a 2-0 defeat of Argentina Saturday in Salvador, Brazil, marking Argentina's first ever loss in a Copa opener.

Argentina looked uninspired throughout their opening match of the tournament. The squad's form did not at all match the expectation surrounding them as they look to avenge their loss in the 2016 Copa final to Chile.

Any pressure put on Argentina can directly be linked to Lionel Messi, who has never won an international trophy. Against Colombia, Messi was held largely in check. 

Peter Coates @golazoargentino

55' The first real glimpse of Messi as he skips through the middle. Wilmar Barrios does enough to get back and poke it back to Ospina (to Argentine appeals for a back-pass)

Colombia looked the stronger side from the start, stringing together possession in the first half but failing to convert. The first goal came late in the second half with a perfectly placed pass from James Rodriguez across the field to Roger Martinez, who rocketed the ball into the far corner of the net in the 71st minute.


Roger Martínez cuts inside and fires in for the lead! Colombia takes a 1-0 lead over Argentina! https://t.co/YMVd0kYJp9

In the 86th minute, Duvan Zapata added an insurance goal when his sliding foot found the end of Jefferson Lerma's cross to completely discourage Argentina. 


It's 2-0! Duván Zapata doubles Colombia's lead! https://t.co/T0rwI3FcB4

The result holds particular importance as Colombia and Argentina will presumably be the two teams battling to make it out of their group shared with Paraguay and Qatar, which means the loss is a tough one for the Argentines.  

Argentina are looking to claim the most coveted trophy in South America for the first time since 1993, but things will have to vastly improve from this showing if they at all have a chance. 

"Same old problems for Argentina: Disjointed, no real support for Messi, Kun fighting for scraps, defenders exposed one vs one," football writer Rupert Fryer observed during the game.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni attempted to fix his disjointed lineup by pulling Angel Di Maria to start the second half in favor of Rodrigo de Paul. The adjustment did not prove fruitful in this match, but it gives Scaloni something to think about moving forward.

Colombia, meanwhile, only needed two shots on goal to win the game. Carlos Queiroz's side is looking to top the tournament for the first time since 2001. Beating Argentina for the first time in six meetings is a good place to start. 

Sam Street @samstreetwrites

An immediate impact from Carlos Queiroz with Colombia as they adapted to a niggly tournament match a lot quicker than Argentina. Plenty of crap football from both teams but only the Colombians knew when to play crap football and when to turn it on. #ARGxCOL https://t.co/KoDhfLqbAb

Colombia's next group fixture is set for Wednesday against Qatar, while Argentina will also take the field Wednesday against Paraguay.