Copa America has reached the semifinal stage, and the early elimination of favorites Argentina and Brazil might mean good news for Americans holding out hope of seeing Lionel Messi and others aligned with FC Barcelona on the club’s U.S. preseason tour.
First, the Copa schedule:
Tuesday in La Plata
Uruguay vs. Peru, 8:30 p.m. ET (Univision, univisionfutbol.com, youtbue.com/copaamerica)
Wednesday in Mendoza
Paraguay vs. Venezuela, 8:30 p.m. ET (Univision, univisionfutbol.com, youtube.com/copaamerica)
Of note: Venezuela has never won the Copa title, Peru last won it in 1975, Paraguay in 1979 and Uruguay in 1995.
Barcelona began preseason camp Monday and will play its first friendly Saturday against Hajduk Split in Croatia. Next is the Audi Cup in Munich July 26-27 with Internacional (Brazil), AC Milan and Bayern Munich. The club will then fly to Washington on July 28 ahead of the UEFA Champions League final rematch with Manchester United two days later at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
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Figuring Argentina and Brazil would advance to at least the Copa semifinals, Messi, as well as national teammate Javier Mascherano and Gabriel Milito and Brazil’s Adriano and Dani Alves, weren’t expected to rejoin Barcelona until the club returned from America.
But with Argentina dismissed early, Messi reportedly wants to join in time for the second of Barca’s three U.S. matches: Aug. 3 vs. Chivas Guadalajara in Miami. (The finale is Aug. 6 vs. Club America in Arlington, Tex.) There is also a report that Messi will travel to Washington and join Barca for a social event at the White House with President Obama.
The Barcelona travel roster is expected to be unveiled soon. Tickets for the FedEx match are essentially sold out, although high-priced packages are available through the Washington Redskins and many tickets are on the market through brokers, such as StubHub, starting at $125.