Lionel Messi Thanks Argentina Team For Helping Him Achieve Goalscoring Record

The US side were defeated in a playoff for a place in the event by Mexico, meaning that the only competitive fixtures the United States will have heading into 2018 World Cup will come in qualifiers from the CONCACAF region. "The top-ranked Argentines were never threatened".

And yet the disappointment in the bowels of NRG Stadium as the U.S. pontificated on their defeat was palpable.

With the odds greatly against them, the US played a very lackadaisical and disappointing game when they needed to give their 'A+' game. Their rearguard is still definitely a problem, an issue head coach, Martino has continually stressed. "It's just top class, what they're playing".

And the piece de resistance for the five-time Ballon d'Or victor came with his record-breaking 55th goal for the Albiceleste - a stunning 25-yard freekick into the far top corner.

Messi first rattled the USA with one spectacular pass early to Ezequiel Lavezzi in the third minute that had led to a goal for Argentina. Messi's brilliance lies in that he is equal parts a great goal scorer, one-on-one wide player, tricky No. 10 and deep-lying playmaker.

Gonzalo Higuain struck twice in the second half, the second assisted by Messi, to put Argentina 90 minutes from a first major trophy since 1993. His initial effort was stopped by Guzan but he calmly knocked home the rebound.

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Forward Ezequiel Lavezzi had a scary moment in the 62nd minute, when he fell over a barrier and broke his elbow. He was taken off on a stretcher. The record is thanks to them'.

"I'm happy to have the record, and I'm happy to play with the team-mates that have made it possible", said Messi, who now has five goals to his name in the tournament.

The United States just couldn't control the ball or create chances against an inspired backline from Argentina. Statisticians dubbed more than one-third of its passes "incorrect". Argentina was the 2014 World Cup finalist and the best attacking force in the world with Messi, Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria, Lavezzi, etc. It was with no doubt the biggest game in US Soccer's history.

"After the first goal, we were trying to scream into the field 'Go at them, become physical, step on their toes, anything'". Despite missing key players through injury and suspension, they defied all odds, including a 2-hr break due to a storm to hand Colombia a defeat in the semis.

Messi reacted very cordially and gave an autograph and a hug before the fan was taken away by security. "They know exactly how to kind of organize themselves behind the ball quickly".

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