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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Javier Mascherano: Argentina's failings should not be blamed on Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi

Country's captain says his club and international colleague is not to blame for the hosts' poor start at the Copa America, which has seen them draw their opening two matches


Argentina captain Javier Mascherano says the nation's below-par performances at the Copa America thus far should not be blamed on Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona forward had a scintillating 2010-11 with the Catalan club, leading them to Champions League and La Liga glory, but he has failed to reproduce the same form whilst on international duty and Argentina have opened their Copa campaign with disappointing draws against Bolivia and Colombia.

Messi has come in for criticism following two unimpressive displays, but speaking at a press conference, Mascherano said: "Argentina are not playing poorly because of Leo Messi.

"The reality is that the individual level for all of us [has] not been the best. That affects the collective."

The tournament favourites will now look for an improved performance and result when they take on Costa Rica on Monday.

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