Chile put 7 past Mexico to seal semis

Messi equals Batigol’s record as Argentina beat Venezuela
Eduardo Vargas scored four times against Mexico as El Tri suffered their worst defeat in an official tournament in their history. PHOTO; AFP

Argentina and Chile advanced to the semi-finals of the Copa America on Saturday with Chile beating Mexico 7-0 and Lionel Messi getting a goal in Argentina's 4-1 win over Venezuela to equal his country's all-time scoring record.

Messi scored in the 60th minute to take his career tally for Argentina to 54 goals, matching the record held by Gabriel Batistuta.

"I am happy to have equalled Batistuta's record but my head is focused on lifting Copa America," said the five-time World Player of the Year.

Argentina will now face the United States in the first semi-final on Tuesday in Houston. Reigning champions Chile joined them in the last four after a 7-0 demolition of Mexico.

Striker Eduardo Vargas scored four goals to set up a semifinal with Colombia on Wednesday.

Messi won the Man-of-the-Match award in an action-packed game against underdogs Venezuela.

Argentina got the perfect start after seven minutes when Gonzalo Higuain turned a cross from Messi past goalkeeper Dani Hernandez.

The Napoli striker doubled the lead 20 minutes later when he latched on to a back pass to round the goalkeeper and slot the ball into the empty net.

Messi put Argentina 3-0 ahead when he worked a one-two with Nicolas Gaitan then poked the ball under Hernandez with his left foot.

Chile were unstoppable in the other quarter-final. Edson Puch scored after 15 minutes, before Vargas got the second just before half time.

Alexis Sanchez made it 3-0 three minutes into the second half and minutes later Vargas got his second.

Vargas sealed his hattrick as he hammered home from close-in after Ochoa had parried Sanchez's shot.

Vargas got a fourth after 73 minutes when he blasted the ball into the roof of the net after dithering Mexican defenders failed to clear.

Puch completed the rout in the 87th minute as he dinked over Ochoa.


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