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Canada vs. Argentina: Your guide to historic Copa America semifinal showdown |



Canada vs. Argentina: Your guide to historic Copa America semifinal showdown  |

On Tuesday night, the Canadian men’s soccer team will face a historic test when it squares off with Argentina in the Copa America semifinals.

The game will begin at 8 p.m. and fans in Canada can watch the game on TSN and those who are south of the border can watch it on FS1.

This is the first time Canada has appeared in the world’s oldest running tournament, which was traditionally contested by the 10 countries in South America before being expanded to 12 teams. This year, six North American countries were invited to participate, with the lone survivor of that bunch being Canada.

Tuesday’s contest has been much talked about in Canada and will likely see bars filled with Canadian supporters.

Here’s what to know about the game.

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How did Canada advance?

Canada and Argentina were actually grouped together and met in their opening match of the tournament.

The Canadians held the world’s No. 1 soccer team off for 45 minutes but after the break, forwards Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez were both able to find the back of the net to lift Argentina to a 2-0 win.

Canada got a little bit of luck in their next two games as both Peru and Chile had players sent off and finished with just 10 men on the field.

Still, the Canadian men had to take advantage, and they would go on to beat Peru 1-0 and hold Chile to a 0-0 draw to advance to the quarterfinal round.

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In the quarters, Canada took on Venezuela, where Jacob Shaffenburg gave the Canadians the early lead. It looked like Canada would hang on until the 64th minute, when Jose Rondon embarrassed Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Grapeau by looping a shot over his head from distance to even things up.

But Grapeau made up for his error in the shootout that followed, turning aside two Venezuelan shooters to give Canada the win.

How did Argentina advance?

After they knocked off Canada in their opener, the Argentines went on to knock off Chile 1-0 before blanking Peru 2-0. In their last contest of group play, they rested a number of starters, including star midfielder Lionel Messi.

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When they reached knockout play, they faced off with Ecuador, which was the first team to score on Argentina as the game finished in a 1-1 draw before Argentina advanced on penalty kicks.

The controversial opener

In the first meeting between Argentina and Canada, a barrage of racist comments were volleyed at Canadian defender Moises Bombito on social media after a hard tackle on Messi towards the end of the game.

Canada Soccer expressed concern over the comments in a statement by saying it was “deeply disturbed by racist comments made online and directed at one of our men’s national team players following tonight’s match.”

The governing bodies of North and South American soccer, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, both also expressed support and concern and said they would investigate the matter.

Three stars for Canada

Jacob Shaffelburg – the speedy Canadian caused an outpouring of Nova Scotian pride after scoring in the last game. Canada will need him to continue his feisty play if it is to upset the world’s best.

Alphonso Davies – the skipper has led on the field with his play and his calm demeanour. He currently plays for one of the world’s best clubs in Bayern Munich but there are rumours that he will move to Spain this summer to play for Real Madrid.

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Jonathan David – He has been a prolific scorer for Lille, which plays in France’s top league, having scored 71 goals over 146 appearances. Canada will hope he can find the back of the net on Tuesday.

Three stars for Argentina

Lionel Messi – While at age 37 he has begun to slow, Messi still gave Canada all it could handle during the first meeting. He is still the engine for a team that is currently the defending world and Copa America champions.

Lautaro Martinez – He currently plies his trade in Italy for Inter Milan. He has scored 103 times in 206 matches for the Italian club and also got one past Grapeau in the first meeting.

Alexis Mac Allister – The Liverpool midfielder can be a dominant force in the midfield with his smart passing and thoughtful play

The odds

As one might guess when the world’s top-ranked team is playing a team ranked 48th, Argentina is a heavy favourite.

It is -700 to collect the win, which means one would have to wager $700 to win $100. On the flip side, Canada is +700 to pull off the upset win.

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