Lionel Messi helped set up five goals in Argentina's 6-1 drubbing of Paraguay during Tuesday's Copa America semifinal, but he said he's hopeful he will be the one to score vs. hosts Chile in the final on Saturday.
"I hope to God that my goals are being saved for the final," Messi told reporters after Tuesday's victory. "But in the final it doesn't matter whether the goals come from me or anyone else. We have met our first goal. We have made it to the final of a World Cup and now Copa America. We are coming into it with great hope."
Messi has not scored from open play for Argentina in a competitive game in more than a year.
Messi assisted in first-half goals for Marcos Rojo and Javier Pastore and one of Angel Di Maria's second-half goals against Paraguay on Tuesday. The Barcelona star also helped set up the final two goals by Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.
Messi demonstrated his brilliant play-making abilities when he beat three defenders -- poking the ball through the legs of one of them -- in a remarkable run that culminated in Argentina's fourth goal by Di Maria.
"Today all the chances happened for us together. And we found the goal quickly, we found more spaces and that forced them to come to us. They found the 2-1 but we kept it up. Playing this way can generate a lot of chances," Messi said.
In Saturday's final, Argentina will attempt to end a 22-year title drought to give Messi his first triumph with the national team, while Chile, boosted by the home crowd and its best generation of players in years, will be going for its first South American championship.
Manchester United midfielder Di Maria applauded his teammates for working together.
"We are thinking about our team, what we are doing and how important it is to continue on this course," he said. "We changed our coach and we are going down a similar path."
Argentina haven't won a significant trophy since the 1993 Copa America, when Messi was six years old. The Argentines were eliminated by eventual champions Uruguay in the Copa America quarterfinals at home in 2011, and lost consecutive finals to rivals Brazil in 2004 and 2007.
But Argentina have won the previous four Copa Americas played in Chile, the last in 1991. They have also never lost to Chile in the tournament.
"We are happy. The truth is that because the matches have been close and hard-fought, we knew that when someone scored, more goals would follow," Messi said. "Before the match, we talked about how we hadn't scored more goals before. And then they all came together."
Information from Press Association was used in this report.