Welcome to CricketCountry’s live coverage of Copa America 2016 quarter-final between Argentina and Venezuela. I am R Narayan and I will bring you all the updates from this match. Argentina are the outright favorites to win the fixture and the tournament, after the elimination of Brazil and Uruguay. Lionel Messi and co coasted through their group, winning all the three matches, scoring 10 and conceding just a single goal. Their opponents will also be high on confidence, after shocking the world by beating Uruguay and qualifying for the quarters. They finished with seven points, and were denied a top spot only due to their goal difference.

Full Time: Argentina cruise to 4-1 win, thanks to a double from Higuain and a goal each from Messi and Lamela. The result was never in doubt from the opening whistle. Messi was the star of the show, assisting two goals to add to his goal. Venezuela were a good challenge, as they had their fair share of chances. In the first half, Rondon hit the post, and soon, Seijas missed a penalty. They did get their deserved goal, but it was too late. Argentina march onto the semi-finals

Argentina 4-1 Venezuela, 90’mins: Plus points to Venezuela for playing with a positive approach, and not sitting back and defend. While they are losing 4-1, they can be proud of the chances they created. Had Seijas scored the penalty, it could have been a very different game. Argentina have no intent of scoring another goal. They are passing the ball around without taking any risk. Lamela’s tenacity helps him get past two players before he lays the ball to Aguero, whose shot is easy to save for the keeper.

Argentina 4-1 Venezuela, 80’mins: Argentina make another change, as Higuain makes way for Sergio Aguero. Messi with a chance to make it five, but surprisingly he misses the target from the edge of the area. They are toiling around Venezuela by passing the ball around. Rondon gets booked for dissent. Final change for Argentina, as Banega is replaced by Biglia.

Argentina 4-1 Venezuela, 71’mins: GOAL! Lamela puts the game back to bed, as he nets Argentina’s 4th goal. Poor keeping from the keeper though. Messi again lays an assist, his second of the match. It seemed Venezuela had a chance to make a comeback, but now it’s all over.

Argentina 3-1 Venezuela, 70’mins: The goal from Messi surely seals the deal for his side. There is definitely no coming back for Venezuela now. Figuera gets a yellow card for a wild challenge on Messi. Free kick for Argentina. And now a corner, as Argentina toil around with their opponents. Argentina to make a change, as Erik Lamela comes in for Gaitan. Fair play to Venezuela, who are still trying, and not sitting back. Their positive approach earns them a corner. GOAL! Rondon gets one back with a header.

Argentina 3-0 Venezuela, 60’mins: Chance for Argentina to make it three, but Fernandez header is wide of target. Feltscher is lucky to survive a yellow card after he blatantly pulls back Otamendi. Chances have been far and few in the second half, as Argentina have killed the pace of the game. GOAL! Messi plays a one-two with Gaitan and scores a brilliant goal.

Argentina 2-0 Venezuela, 50’mins: We are back underway as Venezuela aim to get back into the match. First chance of the half for Argentina, as Gaitan does brilliantly to feed Higuain, who is blocked from taking a shot.

Half time in the quarter-finals as Argentina lead Venezuela 2-0. Messi has been at his creative best, assisting the first goal and creating host number of chances. But the half belonged to Higuain, whose double has almost confirmed his side a place in semi-finals. As for Venezuela, they came back to life in the final five minutes, forcing brilliant saves from Argentina keeper Romero. They even had a chance to pull one back through the spot, but an horrible penalty dashed their hopes of going into the break with a goal.

Argentina 2-0 Venezuela, 45’mins: Unbelievable save from Romero, after the ball deflects and nearly loops above him. But he does brilliantly to recover and tip the ball away for a corner. Penalty for Venezuela! Romero is found to have tripped Martinez. MISS! An horrible penalty from Seijas, as he tries to chip Romero, who stands his ground to take an easy catch.

Argentina 2-0 Venezuela, 40’mins: Argentina have taken their foot off the paddle. First effort on target for Venezuela, as Mascherano is robbed of the ball near the area, before Rondon takes a shot which is well saved by Romero. Corner for Venezuela as they look to score a goal. Off the post! The delivery is a good one, and Rondon leaps brilliantly, but is unlucky to see his header hit the post.

Argentina 2-0 Venezuela, 30’mins: Penalty shouts as Messi is taken down in the box. But the referee calls it a fair challenge, despite the replays showing otherwise. Another free kick for Argentina, as Messi steps up to take it. But it’s a routine catch for the keeper. At the other end, Rondon gets half a yard space to get a shot, but it’s well blocked by Mascherano. And Gaitan gets into the book for a late challenge. He will miss the semi-final should Argentina qualify. GOAL! A horrible back pass reaches straight into the feet of Higuain, who rounds off the keeper to score his and teams second.

Argentina 1-0 Venezuela, 20’mins: An ambitious chip from Messi is wide, after Venezuela keeper was out of his box. First corner of the match to Venezuela. Free kick for Argentina after Augusto Fernandez was intentionally fouled. Messi takes the resulting kick, but it doesn’t cause any damage. Messi has been magical so far, spraying passes all around the pitch and getting past his markers with ease.

Argentina 1-0 Venezuela, 10’mins: Messi with the first effort of the game, but it’s an easy save for the keeper. Nearly for Argentina, as Messi wriggles past 2 defenders and curls a ball, which just misses the target. First card of the evening goes to Venezuela’s Seijas. GOAL! Higuain meets the end of an sumptuous ball from Messi to give Argentina the lead.

Argentina had no troubles in the group stages, winning all their three games, despite missing Messi for most parts. The Barcelona forward came into the tournament with a back injury, and sat out in his team’s 2-1 win over Chile. He came from the bench in his side’s 5-0 win over Panama, scoring a hat-trick and making his presence felt. In the final group game, which Argentina won 3-0 over Bolivia, Messi came in as a second half substitute.

Venezuela are the underdogs for this fixture, which may suit them. At the start of the tournament, only few were giving them a chance to qualify from a group which also had Uruguay and Mexico. But they shocked theri critics, beating Uruguay on their way to qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Squads:

Argentina: Nahuel Guzman , Sergio Romero, Mariano Andujar, Marcos Rojo, Facundo Roncaglia, Jonatan Maidana, Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Mercado, Ramiro Funes Mori, Victor Cuesta, Augusto Fernandez, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Erik Lamela, Matias Kranevitter, Javier Pastore, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Gaitan, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi

Venezuela: Jose Contreras, Wuilker Farinez, Dani Hernandez, Wilker Angel, Rolf Feltscher, Alexander Gonzalez, Roberto Rosales, Jose Manuel Velazquez, Mikel Villanueva, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Juan Pablo Anor, Arquimedes Figuera, Alejandro Guerra, Yangel Herrera, Romulo Otero, Adalberto Penaranda, Tomas Rincon, Carlos Suarez, Luis Manuel Seijas, Yonathan Del Valle, Josef Martinez, Salomon Rondon, Christian Santos