The win sets up a mouthwatering semifinal match with tournament hosts Brazil, as Argentina aim to end their 26-year drought without a major trophy. He accepted that he has performed below expectations but says that the sub-par pitches have also played a role.
"It's hard to give a favourite between Argentina and Brazil, even more so in this Copa America where anyone can beat anyone", said the 32-year-old Barcelona star ahead of Tuesday's semi-final in Belo Horizonte.
"Truth is I am not doing my best Copa America or what I hoped to do", Messi said after the match at the same stadium he and Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy and we're happy to have reached the semi-finals".
Argentina started the tournament with a loss to Columbia.
"It took time to take off, we got better", he said when addressing the media after the last eight victory.
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In a different interview, Messi slammed the state of Brazil pitches while speaking with ESPN.
"But we had a great Copa America, we're improving, next up is (World Cup) qualifying and we'll give it everything. The ball bounces poorly, we can't carry it".
He, however, noted that the team's progress in the championships was more important than his own feats.
"Argentina v Brazil is not played every day, especially in a competition like this".
"What matters today is that we won and advanced", the striker said.
"We weren't at the level we're capable of, we struggled to get into the game and we couldn't offer the physical and mental intensity that was needed", said Dudamel. "We thought we would finish first in the group and be on the other side of the key, but we are in semifinals and the best are there".