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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Argentina to meet Brazil in Copa America final

Argentina set up the dream Copa America final with Brazil after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Mexico in Puerto Ordaz.

Andres Guardado hit the post as Mexico started well, but Argentina went ahead with a volley from Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze right on half-time.

Lionel Messi doubled the lead with a remarkable goal, lifting the ball home from the right-hand side of the area.

Rafael Marquez brought down Carlos Tevez four minutes later and Juan Roman Riquelme cheekily scored the penalty.

Alfio Basile's side largely outclassed the Mexicans to book their place in Sunday's showpiece encounter at the Jose Pachencho Romero stadium in Maracaibo.

Mexico had started the game well and had the first real chance, Juan Carlos Cacho taking advantage of a defensive mistake only to fire over the crossbar.

Javier Zanetti mis-hit a shot and Tevez fired at keeper Oswaldo Sanchez for Argentina before Guardado rifled against the right-hand post.

Argentina broke the deadlock on half-time, as Riquelme drifted a free-kick into the area and Heinze volleyed home at the far post, BBC reports.

Mexico coach Hugo Sanchez brought on Omar Bravo and Alberto Medina at halftime in search of an equalizer, and his team very nearly found it 10 minutes into the second period.

But Nery Castillo was unlucky to see his shot come back off the bar.

Argentina threatened for a fourth goal as substitute Rodrigo Palacio fired over over the bar, and Messi saw an effort drift wide of the left post late.

On Sunday, Argentina will be bidding for a record 15th Copa America title against seven-times and reigning champins Brazil, who defeated Uruguay 5-4 on penalties on Tuesday in the first semi-final, which ended 2-2 after regular time.
Mexico and Uruguay will play for third place on Saturday in Caracas, AFP reports.

Argentina put aside a scoreless first half against Peru, and turned over the scoreboard just two minutes after the restart when Juan Roman Riquelme muscled a left–footed volley past diving goalkeeper Leao Butron for the first of his two goals.

That goal "ruined everything we had done well in the first half," Peru coach Julio Cesar Uribe said.

Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano found the net, too, and Riquelme scored his fourth goal of the tournament five minutes from the end off a fast break by Messi, the AP reports.

"We played with lots of patience, moving the ball all over the field," Argentina coach Alfio Basile said. "Then in the second half, they paid dearly for all the running around and pressuring."

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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