Argentina will want to stay on that dominate-every-match-and-score-plenty-of-goals path when they play the hosts USA in the Copa America Centenario semifinals on Tuesday. Lionel Messi will target another masterclass while taking his country to their third consecutive major tournament final, and the USMNT players will know stopping the Argentina talisman will be the key to paving their way into the summit clash.
The Americans came into the tournament with the semifinals in mind – making the final four was their primary target, and now that they have done that, it will be interesting to see if they have that will and desire to go one step further, especially considering they are running up against the best side in the Copa America so far.
"There is not a tonne of room for error at the back, because they are so dangerous going forward, especially they have four or five guys that can make something happen out of nothing," USA defender Matt Besler told MLS Soccer's official website. "So at the back we have to be extremely tuned in, we can't make a lot of mistakes, and then going forward we have to take our chances when we get them."
That might sound straightforward enough, but such is the attacking talent of Argentina – apart from Messi, they have Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Nicolas Gaitan and Erik Lamela, some of whom are not even finding a place in the starting XI -- that even the slightest of mistakes will be punished, and if a mistake does not come their way to pounce upon, they will conjure up something from nowhere. Messi, of course, will be key to doing that, and what the USA need to do is try and keep the Argentina No.10 quiet.
"It's now Messi's time," USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters. "When I had the opportunity to play many games against Maradona, it was Maradona's time. We all admire these types of players. But there are also ways to stop them. There are ways to play against these wonderful players.
"At the end of the day it's two teams playing against each other. I think it's a lot down to confidence, confidence in yourself and take it to another level now."
Argentina manager Gerardo Martino also has no doubts that Messi is the one who is going to get the most attention from the USA defenders.
"We have ways to confront the attention that Messi gets," Martino said. "Some teams mark him personally, others get physical and surround him with players. I think the fact that there is a coach that is going to try to neutralize the best player in the world is only logical. But it's another thing if it works.
However, Klinsmann will be limited in the players he can select for this Copa America semifinal, with Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya and Bobby Wood all suspended. Klinsmann, though, believes, his team can still stop this Argentina side.
"It's not that they win every game, they lose games as well," Klinsmann added. "And when they lose games, they make mistakes. It will be a fascinating game. This is a wonderful opportunity for our players to show themselves."
Where to Watch Live
USA vs Argentina -- the Copa America semifinals -- is scheduled for a 9 p.m. ET (2 a.m. BST, 6.30 a.m. IST) start. TV and Live Streaming infromation below.
UK: TV: Premier Sports. Live Streaming: Premier Player.
South America/Latin America: TV: DirecTV. Live Streaming: DirecTV live.
Mexico: TV: Univision, TDN, Azteca.
Brazil: TV: SporTV.
China and Hong Kong: TV: PPTV Sports and LeTV.
Singapore: Singtel. Live Streaming: Singtel Go.
Thailand: TrueSport 1.
Australia, France and Spain: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.