SAO PAULO: Captain Lionel Messi immediately switched his focus to taking on Paraguay after Argentina were beaten 2-0 by Colombia in their opening game at the Copa America.
Argentina had previously come out on top in their past meetings with Colombia over the last 12 years, but were unable to extend that record in Salvador. Neither side had a shot on target in the first-half, but Colombia always looked stronger and eventually got the goal they deserved in the 71st minute thanks to Roger Martinez.
Substitute Duvan Zapara duly doubled the lead from close range in the 86th minute. Messi, however, believed there were upsides to take away for Argentina. Quoted on Argentina’s official website, the captain said after the match: “We must take out the positive things of today, which I believe there are, and think about what follows.
“We have a lot of chances still. Now we raise our heads and move on. It will be hard for us to accept this defeat, but when we get to Belo Horizonte we should think about what follows. It would be a mistake to stay with this. Now we have to go step by step. The match against Paraguay will be key.”
Lionel Scaloni, who took charge after Argentina’s disappointing World Cup campaign last year, was more impressed by his side’s second-half display despite both of Colombia’s goals coming after the break.
“When we were better, we were scored against,” he told a post-match press conference. “The second half was the best, we made two or three adjustments, the team went out to look for more, there was a change of attitude, we talked a lot, the second time was worthy of Argentina. Good team. The players know very well that this is long and that there are two games ahead, the most important thing is to stay with the good and correct the mistakes we had.”