It would be 'crazy' to see Argentina out of Copa - Messi

Lionel Messi and Franco Armani save the day for struggling Argentina

Lionel Messi and Franco Armani save the day for struggling Argentina

"We are lucky that we are still alive in this tournament", said coach Lionel Scaloni, whose side must win Sunday's fixture against Qatar.

Lionel Messi has urged Argentina "to think positively" as their hopes of a Copa America title win are shining very faintly post their 1-1 draw with Paraguay.

The Barcelona forward's 57th-minute penalty cancelled out a first-half opener from Paraguay's Richard Sanchez.

Messi fired home confidently to level the scores, but Argentina were indebted to goalkeeper Armani at the other end of the pitch when he saved a Derlis Gonzalez penalty five minutes later.

Colombia leads the group with six points, four more than second-place Paraguay and five more than both Qatar and Argentina.

While two of the best third-placed teams will go through to the knockouts and Argentina still have Qatar to play, there are no guarantees for the side now coached by former Deportivo La Coruna stalwart Lionel Scaloni.

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'We knew this would be hard, we're still looking for the best group, for the best performance, to keep growing. Among those replaced were veterans Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria.

That flurry of activity spurred Argentina fleetingly at the other end, with Lautaro Martinez winning a free-kick in a unsafe position on the edge of the area after a foul by Paraguay skipper Gustavo Gomez.

"I could have continued playing but the coach made a decision to take me off". Messi, in his fifth Copa America, played on the right flank, with Giovani Lo Celso and Leandro Paredes taking over the playmaking responsibilities at midfield.

The first half showed Paraguay with the best chances on counterattacks, with Gonzalez almost opening the scoring with a shot that deflected off a defender in the 30th minute.

He quickly turned to Aguero with his side trailing 1-0 at halftime but just as Argentina were looking more risky after Messi's equaliser and Franco Armani's penalty save, he took off the lively Lautaro Martinez for Di Maria.

Yet there was more drama in the 62nd minute when Paraguay's Gonzalez burst into the box and was clumsily hacked down by Nicolas Otamendi for a clear penalty.

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