U.S.A. v Argentina

Copa America Centenario

Semi Final

Tuesday 21st June 2016

Kick off 20.00 Actual 20.07

U.S.A. 0 Argentina 4,  attendance 70,858

3′ 0-1 E.Lavezzi

32′ 0-2 L. Messi

50′ 0-3 G. Higuain

86′ 0-4 G. Higuain

@ NRG Stadium

1, Reliant Park

Houston, TX 77054

Admission $100 + $11.80 fees, Print at home ticket.

No programme.

When I purchased my ticket for this one it looked like the match would be involving Argentina or Chile, as one of them would surely win Group D and then dispose of a second placed team from another group in the Quarter Final. As it turned out, it was Argentina who topped the group and then comfortably beat Venezuela 4-1 to reach the Semis. With the way the other groups panned out, it meant whoever got through from the Quarter Final between U.S.A. and Ecuador, it would be a third time I would see them play in the tournament. I would have much preferred it to have been Ecuador.

Originally, I was just going to drive down to Houston and return straight after the match. This plan changed when a mate of mine, who was over on a 3 week holiday in the States, which would include staying with us for a few days from the following weekend, also bought a ticket for this one, and I was certainly interested in the match he had planned for the following night. Southwest Airlines run an hourly service from Dallas Love Airport down to William P. Hobby Airport, in the south west of Houston, ideal for being picked up there and also convenient for the NRG Stadium. Oddly, considering we had both bought a ticket without knowing we would be going together, we were in the same section, his seat being just 7 rows back from mine. I flew down at noon and was picked up just after 1pm. I was very surprised when I got into the car to see that there was no SatNav, but my mate said we wouldn’t need one as he had looked at the map before he left the U.K. !

NRG Stadium is home to the Houston Texans of the N.F.L. having opened in 2002 as Reliant Stadium, before changing to its current sponsors name in 2013.  It was the first stadium in the N.F.L. to be constructed with a retractable roof and is due to host the 2017 Super Bowl, having previously hosted it in  2004. Capacity here is 71,795 and today’s attendance was the highest ever for a ‘soccer’ match in Houston.

As for the match. Well, it was pretty much the ‘Lionel Messi Show’, as he was outstanding, scoring a sublime free kick and making two of the other 3 goals. Had Ecuador made it through, then on this form, the result would have probably been the same.