Lionel Messi angry at officials as Argentina beaten by Brazil in Copa America thanks to Jesus and Firmino

A right mess

Tite’s side won 2-0 to book a place in the final, but Messi blasted the bulls**t, believing VAR should have come into play on several occasions

A fuming Lionel Messi blasted the ‘bulls**t’ officiating during Argentina’s Copa America semi-final defeat to Brazil.

The five-time world champions won 2-0 thanks to goals from Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus and Liverpool sharpshooter Roberto Firmino in the same stadium where Germany hammered them 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

Messi was not happy after Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in the Copa America semi-final and directed his anger towards the officials

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Messi was not happy after Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in the Copa America semi-final and directed his anger towards the officials

However, Messi was unhappy Ecuadoran referee Roddy Zambrano preferred to let the game run, rather than consult VAR on several occasions, one example being Sergio Aguero not being awarded a penalty moments before Firmino scored.

“They were not better than us,” the Barcelona star said afterwards. “They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn’t award.

“[The officials] were tired of making bulls**t calls at this Copa and they didn’t go to VAR. It was unbelievable.

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“It was like that all match. It was bulls**t that they were doing it all match. There is no excuse, it must be looked into. Hopefully, CONMEBOL does something about these kind of referees.

“Because we did everything to try and advance but [the officials] stacked the deck against us.

“I don’t believe they will do anything because Brazil controls everything, so it is very complicated. But I don’t think we should feel bad for anything. It didn’t happen and we had bad luck.”

Messi felt the referee should have consulted VAR several times during the game

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Messi felt the referee should have consulted VAR several times during the game

Jesus opened the scoring after 19 minutes, burying a low cross from Firmino to score his first goal of the tournament.

He then set up Firmino for a simple tap-in to double the advantage in the 71st minute.

Argentina, who last won the tournament in 1993, still had several chances to score and almost pulled level in the first half when a header from Aguero hit the cross bar.

Brazil goalie Alisson was forced into a diving save just minutes after the break, while Messi was also denied by the post.

Firmino and Jesus were the scorers for Brazil, who play the final on Sunday in Rio

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Firmino and Jesus were the scorers for Brazil, who play the final on Sunday in Rio

With Alisson in goal, Brazil ensured Argentina are still looking for a first competitive win against their South America rivals since 2005

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With Alisson in goal, Brazil ensured Argentina are still looking for a first competitive win against their South America rivals since 2005

Brazil, in their first Copa America final since 2007, have yet to concede a goal in the tournament and have progressed despite being booed by their fans in the group games against Bolivia and Venezuela.

They will now play either defending champions Chile or Peru in the final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Messi, who has won 29 trophies with Barcelona, has yet to win a major title with Argentina and his only success came in the 2008 Olympics where he won a gold medal. He quit the national team when the side lost to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final and returned for the 2018 World Cup.

Messi has scored 68 goals in 135 games for Argentina, but has only won the 2008 Olympic gold medal

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Messi has scored 68 goals in 135 games for Argentina, but has only won the 2008 Olympic gold medal

Argentina co-host the 2020 Copa America with Colombia, giving him a chance to finally win silverware and the 32-year-old suggested he will still be around to attempt it.

“Something new is on the horizon,” he said.

“I hope we are respected and not criticised. They should let the team be and let them grow.

“The truth is I have got on very well with this group of players and if I have to help in some way I will. This is a great group which is growing and if I can join them I will.”