Copa America: Argentina turns attention to continental extravaganza in quest for elusive trophy

Argentina's last success at any tournament came as far back as 2008.

Can Lionel Messi inspire Argentina to Copa America success in Brazil?   -  Getty Images

After a disappointing end to its World Cup aspirations last summer in Russia, Argentina's attention now turns to the Copa America, South America's footballing extravaganza, and another shot at ending an excruciatingly long wait for a major trophy.

Argentina's previous success in any tournament came at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where Angel di Maria's 58th-minute goal helped the La Albiceleste secure the gold medal.

Argentina has come agonisingly close to winning silverware multiple times in recent years, but it has faltered at the final hurdle.

After Mario Gotze's 117th-minute clincher denied Alejandra Sabella's men in the 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana, Argentina lost back-to-back Copa America finals (in 2015 and 2016) on penalties against Chile.

Read: 'Neymar should not captain Brazil at Copa America'

Defeat in the 2016 tournament got the country's talisman, Lionel Messi, to call time on his international career, though he reversed his retirement decision just a month after. “In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important," said Messi after a decisive penalty miss against Chile in the final.

Failure to win major tournaments has haunted Messi and Argentina alike. Messi’s individual excellence could only take Argentina as far as last-16 the World Cup last year.

The Argentinean fans will expect the country's players to deliver a trophy when the tournament kicks off on June 14. But for Argentina to win the Copa America, which last happened in 1993, Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria and the other seniors pros must rise up to the occasion.

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