Argentina Beat Bolivia To Secure Top Spot In Group D


Washington: Argentina brushed aside Bolivia 3-0 to finish as Copa America Group D winners.

Erik Lamela, Ezequiel Lavezzi and defender Victor Cuesta were all on target in the first half before the second became a training exercise for the Albiceleste.

Argentina’s 10 goals in the group stage equalled the record for the competition, in its centenary edition, and they will face surprise package Venezuela in their quarterfinal in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Argentina were on the front foot from the outset and took the lead in the 13th minute when Edward Zenteno crudely brought down Lavezzi and Lamela’s free kick went in via a deflection off Yasmani Duk in the wall.

And almost immediately it was 2-0 when, from Facundo Roncaglia’s cross, Gonzalo Higuain’s header was only parried and Lavezzi pounced right-footed.

Duk was forced off with a bizarre injury when teammate Luis Gutierrez robustly blocked Roncaglia and he clashed heads with the Bolivia frontman, who was replaced by Diego Bejarano.

Half an hour elapsed before the crowd began chanting for Lionel Messi, who was left on the bench, though they broke off to cheer a third goal when Bolivia failed to clear a set-piece and Lavezzi’s cross-shot was diverted in by Cuesta for his first international goal.

Bolivia keeper Carlos Lampe saved from Higuain in first-half stoppage time.

Messi was introduced at the break but Bolivia’s Jhasmani Campos tried to steal his thunder by going for goal directly from the kick-off, his side’s first attempt.

Messi whipped a free kick just wide, nutmegged Lampe having been flagged offside and then shot just over from long range with the keeper off his line, but the match had long since dissolved into an exhibition.

Argentina finished having had 82 percent of possession, completing 757 passes to Bolivia’s 61.