WATCH: Lionel Messi attempts a Panenka effort but misses the penalty for Argentina against Ecuador

Football: During dramatic quarterfinal encounter Ecuador that finished in penalty kicks, with Lionel Messi failing to score with a Panenka shot.

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Varun Sarwate
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In the opening quarterfinal of Copa America 2024, Argentina, the defending champion, will play Ecuador on Thursday at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. After winning all three of their games against Canada, Chile, and Peru, respectively, Argentina came in first place in Group A. Ecuador came in second place in Group B, behind Venezuela. 

In their last group game against Peru, La Albiceleste was without Lionel Messi due to the Argentina captain's slight ailment, which he said wasn't severe. Messi, though, is expected to make a comeback after getting back to training for the quarterfinals.

Messi was rested for Saturday's 2-0 win against Peru in Miami, one of nine changes made by coach Lionel Scaloni, but will return to the starting lineup for the last-eight showdown at NRG Stadium. Lautaro Martinez, the tournament's leading scorer with four goals in three games, keeps his spot in attack at the cost of Julian Alvarez.

Argentina has made it to the Copa America 2024 semifinals, but it was not an easy assignment. The Albiceleste met Ecuador in a dramatic quarterfinal encounter that finished in penalty kicks, with Lionel Messi failing to score with a Panenka shot.

Watch here the video:

The first Copa America 2024 semifinalist has been revealed. Argentina established an early lead against Ecuador in the quarterfinals thanks to a goal by Lisandro Martinez, but the reigning FIFA World Cup champions faced a dramatic ending.

Fifth Copa America semifinal  Argentina

In order to determine the first semifinals for Copa America 2024, penalties were used in this encounter. Unfortunately, Argentina's shootout started terribly. Argentina captain Lionel Messi was ready to take the opening strike. But he failed to score from the spot as Messi intended to chip it down the middle, but the ball crossed the net and struck the crossbar.

Argentina is making its fifth consecutive Copa America semifinal appearance. In the past four seasons, the team finished second in 2015 and 2016, third in 2019, and won the championship in 2021. Argentina will meet the victor of the Venezuela vs. Canada quarterfinal, which will take place on Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 

Lionel Messi Argentine Football Association Copa America 2024