A furious Lionel Messi was vocal about the refereeing after Argentina were denied two penalties in their Copa America semifinal loss to rivals Brazil.

Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino saw Brazil overcome Argentina 2-0 in Belo Horizonte.

Argentina might feel hard done by after hitting the woodwork twice through Sergio Aguero and Messi, and having two penalty appeals turned down by the officials.

Nicolas Otamendi went down under a  challenge from Barcelona midfielder Arthur following a corner and Aguero appeared to be brought down by Dani Alves. To add insult to injury for Argentina, Roberto Firmino sealed the result not long after this second appeal.

Argentina skipper Messi felt Argentina deserved two spot-kicks, with the VAR – which has dominated headlines at the Copa America – not asking the referee to look at either incident in question.

"They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn't award," Messi told reporters.

"They [the officials] had booked a lot of bulls***, but they didn't even check the VAR, that's incredible.

"That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil's] favour and this kind of bulls*** distracted us from the game.

"There are no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyse it and let's hope CONMEBOL does something about it."

Messi, whose wait for a first senior trophy with the national team goes on, praised Argentina's performance.

"I think we played a great game. We made a great effort and they were not superior to us," he said. Messi added: "If I have to help from somewhere, I'm going to do it. I felt very good with this group."

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