The US national team now know their semifinals fate: A date with Leo Messi and Argentina.
Messi led Argentina to a quarterfinals victory over Venezuela on Saturday night, scoring a goal and assisting on two others in a convincing 4-1 triumph at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Argentina got off to a strong start in the game, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring twice inside of the first half hour to set the tone for the South American powerhouse.
Venezuela had a chance to trim the deficit when it was 2-0, but a poorly-taken penalty kick from Luis Sejias late in the first half went right into the arms of Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Messi netted the next goal to effectively put the game out of reach, and then set up an Erik Lamela strike in the 71st minute to cap the scoring. Venezuela's consolation came a minute earlier via Salomon Rondon.
With the win, Messi and the rest of the Argentines will face the US in the semifinals of the tournament on Tuesday at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
- 8' - ARG - Gonzalo Higuain (Leo Messi)
- 28' - ARG - Gonzalo Higuain
- 60' - ARG - Leo Messi (Nicolas Gaitan)
- 70' - VEN - Salomon Rondon (Alejandro Guerra)
- 71' - ARG - Erik Lamela (Leo Messi)
- Full box score
As overwhelmed as Venezuela looked at times in the first half, they had a chance to gain some momentum just before the break. Unfortunately for the Venezuelans, Luis Sejias opted to try a panenka on his attempt from 12 yards out and goalkeeper Sergio Romero easily caught it to keep Argentina's healthy lead in tact.
- ARG: Tuesday, June 21 vs. US (9 pm ET, FS1, Univision, UDN)
- VEN: Eliminated from Copa America Centenario