Daily Archives: June 27, 2016

Agentina and Chile to meet for Copa America final rematch

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A pitch invader entered the field in Argentina’s match to pay his respects to Lionel Messi.

Argentina and Chile both enjoyed solid victories over their respective semi-final opponents to set up a Copa America final rematch.

Argentina 4-0 USA (Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain 2)

Lionel Messi scored a dazzling free-kick from 25-yards to anoint himself as his country’s top goalscorer and added two assists as Argentina utterly outclassed the host nation.

“I am happy to have surpassed Batistuta’s record and I want to thank my team-mates, it’s theirs as well,” Messi said after the match.

Ezequiel Lavezzi opened the scoring early as he was found free by Messi with a chip, which he heads over Brad Guzan. After Messi added to Argentina’s tally with his free-kick, Higuain scored his first after the break.

The Napoli striker ran behind to receive a cross but Guzan saved the shot, only for HIguain to pounce on the rebound to score. Guzan was once again powerless to stop Argentina as Messi pounced on a defensive blunder to provide Higuain with an easy finish.

But there are fears for Argentina’s chances as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Augusto Fernández and Marcos Rojo all sustained injuries in the match. Lavezzi had a freak accident, fracturing his left elbow after tumbling over an advertising board, while Fernández has a hamstring injury and Rojo a thigh strain.

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Chile 2-0 Colombia (Aranguiz, Fuenzalida)

Two early goals are enough to see Chile through to the Copa America Centenario final after the match was delayed for more than two hours after the break.

The second half of the match was postponed for two hours as an electrical storm blew through Soldier Field, Chicago. The game did not finish until after 11.15pm local time, but Chile had already completed their work early on.

Charles Aranguiz converted a rebound past Arsenal’s David Ospina for Chile’s first goal in just seven minutes after play started. It was followed by Jose Pedro Fuenzalida strike four minutes later.

With the defeat, the Colombians will play against USA in the third-place playoff round, while Chile will look to retaining their title which they won last year by penalties.

LeBron James follows Stephen Curry out of USA Olympics team

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The USA team participating in this year’s Olympic Games in Rio will be short another star as LeBron James confirmed that the will not play for his nation’s basketball team.

It had been a long season as the Cavaliers star led Cleveland into their first major sporting title in 52 years. Initially down 3-1 against Steph Curry’s Warriors, LeBron managed to carry his native team into game 7 and a first spectacular turnaround in the NBA grand finals to win the Championship trophy.

“I could use the rest,” the local youth product said.

LeBron will be joining Curry in a star-studded list of national team draft absentees; the unanimous NBA MVP had already announced his withdrawal earlier, citing injury issues.

Having two Olympics gold medals under his belt could also be a factor influencing the NBA fnals MVP. James had won gold in 2012 and 2008 with the USA team then, as well as bronze in 2004.

Additionally, other athletes who had concerns over the spreading strain of Zika virus and the political turmoil in Brazil had also withdrawn from Rio 2016. However, James’s decision was understood to have been solely for sporting reasons: he has played more minutes than any other player in the NBA over the last six seasons.

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is already adjusting plans after stars such as Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Paul had also withdrawn from the player drafting process.

But even with such talent handicap, Team USA remains heavy favorites to win gold: they are currently 1 to 14 with bookmakers. The next most favored team are Spain at 10 to 1.

USA Basketball will officially announce their 12-man roster for Rio next week. Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kyle Lowry are expected to be included.

Kevin Durant had also confirmed earlier this week that he intends to play in Rio, while sources also revealed that Paul George, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins also have committed to the US.