Argentina down Mexico in semi-finals

Ciudad Guayana, July 12:

Argentina defeated Mexico 3-0 to set up a tantalising Copa America final with defending champions Brazil.

Gabriel Heinze, Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme all scored as Alfio Basile’s side outgunned Mexico to book their place in Sunday’s encounter.

After Argentina had taken the lead at the stroke of halftime, Messi’s superb goal in the 61st minute doubled the lead. He collected a pass from Carlos Tevez on the right side of the area and lofted a left-footed chip over Mexican keeper Oswaldo Sanchez. Minutes later, Rafael Marquez fouled Tevez in the area and Riquelme converted the penalty in the 66th to seal the victory.

Argentina looked the most threatening in the early stages, but it was Mexico who had the first clear chance when Juan Carlos Cacho took advantage of a defensive mistake but fired over the crossbar.

Javier Zanetti responded for the South Americans, but the he shot weakly after creating an opening for himself. West Ham striker Tevez went close minutes later after escaping the attention of two defenders.

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