The five-time world player of the year set up Ezequiel Lavezzi's opening goal in the third minute, then scored on a free kick to break Argentina's career scoring record and assisted on the final goal in a 4-0 rout of the U.S. on Tuesday night that put the La Albiceleste into the Copa America final.
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After Messi doubled the lead in the 32nd minute with his 55th international goal, his tournament-leading fifth, Gonzalo Higuain quickly ended U.S. comeback hopes when he put the rebound of his initial shot past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 50th. Higuain scored off a Messi pass in the 86th.
Argentina will seek its first major title since the 1993 Copa - and its first since Messi's debut in 2005 - when it plays Chile or Colombia on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
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For more on the COPA America competition including stats and scores, click here.