Argentina defeats Peru in the Copa America, advances to quarterfinals (includes video story)

Even without its star, Argentina beat Peru 2-0 at the Hard Rock Stadium Saturday and placed first in its group, advancing to the knockout rounds of the Copa America.

Lionel Scaloni, head coach for Argentina, was suspended for the game after showing up late to the field at the start of the second half during the matches against Canada and Chile. Instead, Walter Samuel, an assistant coach for the team, took over.

Argentina’s Alejandro Garnacho debuted at the Copa America while Peru’s Oliver Sonne subbed for Andy Polo at the start. Soccer legend Lionel Messi was benched out because of a hamstring injury.

With a Messi-less team, midfielder Ángel Di María became captain. Another midfielder, Leandro Paredes, missed a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.

“Finishing with nine points is not easy at all,” Paredes said. “We hadn’t been able to do it like I always said. They are very difficult…”

The two goals by Argentina, scored by forward Lautaro Martinez in the second half, disqualified Peru from the Copa America.

This is the second game the Hard Rock Stadium has hosted for the tournament. More than 64,000 fans were in attendance.

The “Albiceleste” team heads to Houston, Texas, to play against Ecuador on July 4. Messi should return to his role as captain.

Valentina Gaspari is a sophomore majoring in Digital Broadcasting. A bilingual woman who enjoys traveling and covering/editing stories, Gaspari is passionate about working in the news or entertainment field as a reporter or producer after graduation.