The Copa America quarterfinal to be hosted at Gillette Stadium officially has its matchup, though the level of involvement of its best player remains to be seen. Argentina will face Venezuela on Saturday, June 18, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Still recovering from a back injury, Lionel Messi only appeared as a substitute in two of Argentina’s three group-stage games. Despite limited playing time, he did score a hat trick against Panama that included this impressive free kick:
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2016
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino discussed Messi’s improving fitness following Argentina’s 3-0 win over Bolivia on Tuesday.
“It’s different than against Chile. He was not able to play at all,” Martino said in an interview. “He didn’t have his shoes on or anything. He’s growing compared to the last game because last game he played 30 (minutes), today 45. He feels more and more confident.”
This will be the first time Argentina have played at Gillette Stadium. The South American superpower did play two group-stage games at Foxboro Stadium during the 1994 World Cup, where Diego Maradona scored his final goal playing for the national team.
The game between Argentina and Venezuela will be shown on both FS1 and the Univision Network.
According to the Copa America local organizing committee, ticket sales for the game have approached 50,000 sold as of Wednesday morning, including 15,000 tickets sold in the previous 72 hours.