Messi rallies the troops

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Lionel Messi hopes Argentina's victory over Qatar can act as a springboard for success in the knockout stages of the Copa America.

Lionel Messi hopes Argentina’s victory over Qatar can act as a springboard for success in the knockout stages of the Copa America.

La Albiceleste’s place in the quarter-finals looked in doubt after they picked up just one point from their first two games, but goals by Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero ensured the South Americans progressed in the tournament.

They finished second behind Group B winners Colombia and will play Venezuela for a place in the semi-finals.

It was far from a vintage display by the men in blue and white and Messi himself was guilty of fluffing a gilt-edged chance from just 10 yards out.

However, Argentina are through and Messi wants his team-mates to use the winning feeling to take confidence into the next phase.

‘We had a good match and we won, which was the most important,’ he told Argentina‘s official website.

‘We needed a game like this, to gain confidence and be calm.

‘As the games go by, the team has to grow and this match served that purpose.

Now starts another Copa.

Now starts all or nothing.’

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