Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi laments Argentina's lack of 'control' against Chile

Messi's superb first-half free-kick cancelled out by Vargas' equaliser, while Paraguay open with 3-1 win over Bolivia

Lionel Messi lamented Argentina's failure to see out the match against Chile in their Copa America 2021 opener.

The Argentina captain opened his account with a stunning free-kick just past the half-hour mark but Eduardo Vargas equalised in the second half after Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal's penalty.

"We weren't calm, we didn't have control of the ball," a disappointed Messi told reporters.

It was the Barcelona superstar's 73rd goal for the Albiceleste in his 175th international but the result leaves Argentina trailing Group A leaders Paraguay who beat Bolivia 3-1.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni was less down about the result than his star player and said there was still a long way to go in the competition.

"We deserved to win but in the end we drew. In any case, it's only the start of a very tough tournament," said Scaloni.

"I would be worried if the team wasn't creating chances. The important thing is we are, we're getting lots of players in the box. And it will go in."

There was a light and effects tribute to honour Argentina legend Diego Maradona before the match at the Nelson Santos stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

A highlights reel of the 1986 World Cup winner, who died in November age 60, was projected throughout the stadium, although the ground was empty due to coronavirus restrictions.

Argentina dominated the opening 45 minutes with Messi sending a volley wide after eight minutes following good buildup play from Leandro Paredes to pick out Nicolas Tagliafico on the left.

Lautaro Martinez missed an excellent chance to put Argentina ahead from six yards and Nicolas Gonzalez forced Claudio Bravo into an excellent save to tip his effort around a post.

From Messi's corner Gonzalez headed over the bar and moments later he was released by Lo Celos but shot straight at Bravo.

Argentina got the goal their domination deserved on 33 minutes, and inevitably it was Messi who scored, curling a free-kick from 25 yards out just beyond Bravo's dive.

Chile started the second half with more intent and Erick Pulgar played Vargas into the area but his shot on the stretch was saved by Martinez.

However, Vidal stormed in to try to fire home the rebound and was caught by Tagliafico as he shot.

Referee Wilmar Roldan consulted VAR and then awarded a penalty.

Martinez tipped Vidal's effort onto the crossbar but Vargas was quickest to the ball to head home the equaliser.

Argentina pressed for a winner with Messi head over the bar in injury time as Chile held on for a point.

"This team didn't want to be beaten, even though they didn't play well. This group of players are defiant," said Chile coach Martin Lasarte.

Soccer Football - Copa America 2021 - Group A - Paraguay v Bolivia  - Estadio Olimpico, Goiana, Brazil - June 14, 2021 Paraguay's Angel Romero celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Angel Romero scored twice as Paraguay bounced back to beat 10-man Bolivia 3-1 in Goiania and top Group A.

Erwin Saavedra gave Bolivia the lead from the penalty spot on 10 minutes after a long VAR review.

Paraguay dominated throughout but the game changed deep into first half stoppage time when Bolivia's Jaume Cuellar was sent off for a second booking.

Alejandro Romero Gamarra restored parity just past the hour mark and Romero put Paraguay in front three minutes later.

Romero sealed the win 10 minutes from time.

Brazil's health ministry issued a statement on Monday saying 31 members of the playing delegations, including players and staff, tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, without giving further details.