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Key Events

L. Messi
Assist
G. Higuaín
Goal
V. Cuesta
M. Rojo
D. Nagbe
C. Dempsey
E. Lamela
E. Lavezzi
S. Birnbaum
K. Beckerman
L. Biglia
A. Fernández
G. Higuaín
Goal
C. Pulisic
C. Wondolowski
L. Messi
Goal
C. Wondolowski
Yellow Card
L. Messi
Assist
E. Lavezzi
Goal
3
1
3
0

Stats

Possession
% %
0
3
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 0 7
Total Passes 318 680

Commentary

That's all for our live coverage from Houston, thanks for following along! Goodbye!
Ezequiel Lavezzi opened the scoring inside of three minutes and Argentina never looked back. Messi doubled the lead with a stunning free-kick, breaking Gabiel Batistuta's record, before a Gonzalo Higuain brace after the interval removed any shred of doubt.
Lionel Messi became the Albiceleste's all-time leading scorer as they coast to a second-consecutive final appearance at the Copa America.
FULL-TIME: USA 0-4 ARGENTINA.
For the USA, they'll move on to play the loser of tomorrow's semi-final between Colombia and Chile in the third-place match on Saturday in Arizona.
Argentina are through to their third consecutive major final, having previously appeared in the World Cup decider in 2014 and the final at last year's Copa America. We know how both ended - defeats for the Albiceleste in extra-time and penalties - but is this the year they end their title drought?
There will be three minutes added on at the end of this match, though it's really an act in futility with nothing left to decide.
STAT: Argentina have reached the finals in two consecutive Copa America editions (2015, 2016) for the second time since 1993 (when the new format took place) - they had already done so in 2004 and 2007.
L. Messi
Assist
Argentina
A second assist for Messi to go with his record-setting goal.
G. Higuaín
Goal
Argentina
MAKE IT FOUR! Cometh the man, cometh the hour! It's Messi's hour at the Copa America! He gets through the defence cleverly and, despite being able to score himself, unselfishly squares for Higuain who taps it into the empty net!
V. Cuesta
M. Rojo
Argentina
Victor Cuesta replaces Rojo in the final change of the night.
STOPPED BY GUZAN! Messi finds acres of space as he somehow is left unmarked on the right, allowing him clean through behind the defence. He bursts into the area and cuts onto his left, but Guzan gets down in a hurry and manages to parry at full-stretch!
The tempo continues to fizzle out as we enter the final 10 minutes. In fact, there's been little tempo to speak of over the last quarter of an hour. The USA aren't keen on committing men forward in what would surely be a fruitless comeback attempt, as they don't want to be caught out at the back.
D. Nagbe
C. Dempsey
United States
It's been a bad night for the hosts, but the fans are still showing their support, giving Dempsey a thunderous applause as he's replaced by Darlington Nagbe.
WASTEFUL! Messi spearheads another Argentina attack following more irresponsible play from the Americans in midfield. They break three against two, but Lamela opts to go at it alone and fails to hit the target.
There's just no rhythm to the USA in possession. It's all too static from them and, as a result, their time on the ball continues to be limited. Argentina are comfortable passing it around in midfield when they're on it, and they keep it for long spells as frustration builds in the USA side.
Argentina have taken their foot off the gas, but it hasn't helped the USA grab a consolation goal. Romero continues to be a spectator in goal, and it's caused Klinsmann to start pulling his hair out on the touchline.
STAT: USA are on a run of three consecutive Copa America wins, the longest of its type for any CONCACAF side.
The USA have switched into a 3-4-3 formation since Birnbaum's arrival. The centre-half has joined Brooks and Cameron at the back, with Yedlin and Johnson pushing up into midfield alongside Bradley and Zusi. Pulisic and Zardes are flanking Dempsey up top.
E. Lamela
E. Lavezzi
Argentina
Lamela is on to replace the injured Lavezzi, who gave a thumbs up to the crowd who admirably applauded in response.
Play resumes, with Argentina down a man, but it hardly stops them! Brooks is dispossessed by Messi who darts forward, but his final throughball for Mascherano isn't read properly by the midfielder as the chance goes begging - not exactly the guy you want on the end of that.
OUCH! This looks a bad one! You hate to speculate, but Lavezzi takes a hard fall on the touchline as he has eyes on the ball, not realising how close he was to the advertising board. With his back to the sideline, he falls over the board and lands very awkwardly. The stretcher is out for him and this has quieted the stadium down a great deal.
Another stoppage now, as Rojo is down and in need of attention just minutes after Augusto went to ground with a knock. Everything has gone according to plan for Argentina tonight, but this is the last thing Gerardo Martino wants to see.
S. Birnbaum
K. Beckerman
United States
Klinsmann goes to his bench for a second time as Steve Birnbaum is on at the expense of Beckerman.
L. Biglia
A. Fernández
Argentina
Augusto picks up a knock and he won't be risked for the final 30 minutes, as Lucas Biglia comes on to replace him.
Crucial from Yedlin! An errant back-pass is pursued by Messi, whose eyes light up with nothing but green grass in front of him. However, he finds himself in a foot race with Yedlin, who deserves full credit for not giving up on the play as he gets there first to clear the threat.
At the risk of making an assumption, the USA aren't coming back from 3-0 down in this second half, so it becomes very much about winning the last 35 minutes. Whether it's 1-0, 2-1, or whatever it may be, they have plenty of pride to try and salvage. If they lose focus and give up, they could be in for a dose of what Chile dealt to Mexico on Saturday night.
The worst-case scenario has struck the USA again. They say the worst time to concede a goal is within the first and last five minutes of a half... well, the hosts have done so at the start of each frame tonight, with Lavezzi scoring inside three minutes of the first and Higuain within five of the second.
STAT: Argentina have scored 17 goals in this Copa America so far - the highest tally over five games in a single edition.
G. Higuaín
Goal
Argentina
ARGENTINA ON THEIR WAY TO THE FINAL! Higuain makes a clever run on the back shoulder of Brooks, and after his initial shot is stopped by Guzan, the striker collects the rebound, rounds the keeper and rolls home Argentina's third of the night! The USA gave up on the play and they pay the ultimate price.
Sluggish start to the first half, as the USA make the first attempt to push forward, but Zusi is unable to navigate his way beyond the close watch of Rojo on the flank. Klinsmann, who had a chat with the referee's at the break, is unhappy yet again as he expected a free-kick to be awarded to his side.
Here we go again!
C. Pulisic
C. Wondolowski
United States
Borussia Dortmund teenager Christian Pulisic replaces Wondolowski at the break. There's the injection of fresh, young legs we speculated about.
The USA have an abundance of older legs on the pitch and, with the amount of defending they've had to do, changes are necessary. They need an injection of pace to help try and stretch the Argentina defence and prevent them from playing so high up the pitch.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lionel Messi have the goals as the Albiceleste have cruised to a comfortable advantage heading into the interval in Houston. It's a more than deserving lead for Argentina, and the USA are, quite frankly, lucky it isn't worse.
HALF-TIME: USA 0-2 ARGENTINA.
There will be one minute added on at the end of this first half.
The USA are so careless in their own end. That's not to say it's a regular occurrence from them, but it has been tonight, and they've been punished dearly. They're hanging on for dear life as they try to get into the interval without any further damage being inflicted, and grab a much-needed rest.
And on a quick side note, to add to the earlier stat, Lionel Messi has now had a hand in eight of Argentina's 16 goals at the Copa America, and he didn't start a single match in the group stage. Chew on that.
STAT: USA have reached the Copa America semi-finals for the second time in their history in four participations: they were knocked out by Brazil in 1995.
Frustration has to be setting in for the USA who can't get a touch on the ball. Argentina are passing it around at the back, essentially playing a game of keep-away, and the hosts can do little about it.
First chance for the hosts! Yedlin choreographs the first opportunity in attack for the hosts, using his electrifying pace to get down the right flank and into the area. He pulls it back into the centre, but Argentina are first too it and the danger is cleared!
It might be over already. Of course one goal for the USA would change everything, but it's just not looking like that's a possibility at the moment. They're more worried right now about damage control than they are cutting into this deficit, and you can hardly blame them.
L. Messi
Goal
Argentina
MESSI BECOMES ARGENTINA'S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER! It's an absolutely sensational free-kick from the forward who breaks Gabriel Batistuta's record with yet another moment of brilliance! There's just no stopping this guy!
C. Wondolowski
Yellow Card
United States
Well that's been coming! The USA have been tempting fate and the referee finally has enough as a cynical, but professional, foul from Wondolowski on Messi sees the American striker booked.
STAT: This is the third meeting between these two sides in the Copa America: USA won 3-0 in 1995, while Argentina won 4-1 in 2007.
This has to be frustrating, not to mention tiring, for the hosts. They're working so hard to win the ball back, having to defend an awful lot to do so, and when they do get it, they're too tired to break forward in numbers. Something has to break this cycle, but it's easier said than done with Argentina so assured on the ball.
The USA just don't seem to have any strategy in possession. They've been unable to string more than a couple of passes together, with Dempsey and Wondolowski shockingly starved of touches thus far. It's either they don't know where to go with the ball, or panic sets in and it's affecting their quality.
That could have been costly! The USA switch off after conceding a free-kick deep in their end, which is taken quickly by Lavezzi as Higuain is sprung through on goal. Thankfully for them, Brooks is alert and has the pace to recover, as he manages to catch up to the striker and slide in with a perfectly timed challenge to prevent him from getting a shot off.
While possession is still being dominated by Argentina, the Americans have started to limit their time spent in attack. The hosts are putting in better work now in midfield and it's provided them with a bit of confidence.
STAT: Argentina have made it to the final in each of the last four editions they have reached the semi-finals.
Michael Bradley has to be better for the USA. He's simply too careless in possession and has looked nervous through this opening quarter of an hour. Argentina are swarming, and when the hosts do win the ball back, they're lacking in ideas and find themselves giving it straight back to the Albiceleste.
HOW DID HE GET THAT OFF?! Messi takes on four defenders - kudos to the USA for surrounding him like that, but they let him get onto the ball too easily - and rides out a challenge before somehow switching onto his left and forcing Guzan into a smart save with a shot from just outside the area.
The USA have seen precious little of the ball and they're enduring another sticky spell as they're kept hemmed back in their end. Zardes and Zusi are spending so much time having to track back and cover the full-backs that there's absolutely no outlet for the hosts to pass their way out from the back.
The USA have plenty of experience in the side so they should be able to rally the troops and avoid heading into a state of panic. They have done well to weather any hopes Argentina had of putting this to bed with a second goal in quick succession, but the hosts are having to do an awful lot of defending.
STAT: Lionel Messi has had a hand in seven of Argentina's 15 goals in this edition, scoring four and delivering two assists.
There's an abundance of movement off the ball for Argentina and the USA just simply aren't dealing with it. Another decisive move sees the Albiceleste carve through the defence, but this time a first-time effort from Higuain is lifted over the bar after a clever squared ball from Lavezzi.
It's an absolutely nightmarish start for the USA. Their gameplan is out the window courtesy of the early goal. Their backs are against the wall already and their immediate response will be very telling as to how this one will unfold. They don't want to get into another Mexico v Chile situation.
L. Messi
Assist
Argentina
Messi picks up another assist for the trophy case. He makes it look too easy.
E. Lavezzi
Goal
Argentina
THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG! A simple ball over the top from Messi takes advantage of despicable marking from the Americans, and Lavezzi sends a cushioned header over Guzan and into the back of the net!
AND WE'RE OFF! The USA get us underway in their white strip with blue and red trim, attacking right to left, with Argentina in their dark blue kits. Sit back and enjoy the action!
The players are in the tunnel and ready to walk out into a full house at Reliant Stadium! The opportunity is theirs for the taking and you can see the laser focus etched onto their faces. Great moments are born from great opportunity, as the late Herb Brooks said, and tonight they learn the truest meaning of that.
Gerardo Martino was forced into making one change as Nico Gaitan misses out after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the win over Venezuela. It's Ezequiel Lavezzi who has the honour of replacing him, as Javier Pastore and Erik Lamela continue to be left on the bench. He, along with Lionel Messi, will flank Gonzalo Higuain.
The Yanks are boosted by the return of DeAndre Yedlin from suspension, however, as he slots in at right-back, pushing Fabian Johnson over to the left and Matt Besler to the bench.
Suspensions have ravaged Jurgen Klinsmann's preferred XI, with Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya and Bobby Wood all serving bans for cards picked up against Ecuador. The USA coach has opted for age and experience to replace his suspended trio, as opposed to youth, with Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondolowski (aged 29, 34 and 33 respectively) taking their place in the team ahead of exciting prospects Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic.
SUBS: Maidana, Roncaglia, Kranevitter, Biglia, Di Maria, Aguero, Guzman, Cuesta, Lamela, Pastore, Andujar.
ARGENTINA (4-3-3): Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Rojo; Augusto, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Lavezzi, Higuain.
SUBS: Birnbaum, Besler, Nagbe, Howard, Orozco, Kitchen, Pulisic, Castillo, Horvath.
USA (4-4-2): Guzan; Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson; Zusi, Bradley, Beckerman, Zardes; Wondolowski, Dempsey.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Argentina played out to an equally entertaining quarter-final match, but it was largely due to their own masterful attack. Venezuela made life uncomfortable for them at times, but ultimately it was Lionel Messi who provided one moment of brilliance after another, scoring a landmark goal and assisting two others as they booked their date with the Americans.
The USA escaped a scare in the second half of their quarter-final match against Ecuador, barely holding on to secure them a spot in the last-four. They got off to a flying start on what was a wild night at CenturyLink, but it came at a cost for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side who will be without a few key members of their squad as a result of suspensions.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and in this instance, they would be right. We have a delectable semi-final battle for you tonight as Lionel Messi and Argentina, hungry for their first major trophy since 1993, will have their outstanding form put to the test against the USA, who will be hoping to put water to the fire that is the Albiceleste attack and pull off a historic upset in front of their home fans.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage from Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas as USA and Argentina do battle for a place in the Copa America Centenario final!
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