Finally got it, Lionel Messi. His long-standing desire to win a major trophy with the Argentine national team came true one day at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. There he had to swallow perhaps the worst disappointment ever in the light blue and white jersey in the World Cup final he lost to Germany seven years ago. Could not imagine a better place to achieve his first title with Argentina, after losing four finals (three times in the Copa America, once in the World Cup).
He has been working magic with FC Barcelona for fifteen years, winning everything with his club and breaking all possible records. But one thing was still missing: a big prize with Argentina. Of course, tears flowed from the captain of the Argentine national team, who got angry immediately after the final whistle and knelt on the world-famous stadium. Then he was quickly overshadowed by his frantic teammates, who finally gave Argentina the Copa America again, but above all knew how much Messi wanted that title.
South America’s “Super Clasico” began at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, the temple of football where Brazil hasn’t lost a final since the 1950 World Cup, nervously, with a huge loss of the ball on both sides. Argentina defended with intensity and difficulty leaving the Brazilians no room for their beloved short formations.
The first-half opportunity came just over ten minutes into the pinball for Brazil, when Richarlison returned a long pass to Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain striker was not given the time and space to hit the Argentine defenders. He had to go to the side to exchange his ripped pants.
At the first opportunity the Argentines were injured. Rodrigo de Paul on the right opened up on Angel Di Maria, who is back in the starting lineup. Brazilian left-back Renan Lodi seemed to be able to intercept the pass with ease, but missed the ball. Di Maria scored in the back with a nice shot over goalkeeper Ederson.
The Argentine goal caused joy along the side and in part of the stands, as few spectators were allowed in for the first time during the Copa America. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, decided on Friday to allow 10 percent of the stadium’s capacity of 78,000 spectators to enter. Due to logistical problems in distributing the available number of tickets, this was for a long time no more than a few hundred, mostly Argentine fans.
After the break, the match caught on a bit more. With centre-forward Roberto Firmino in front of midfielder Fred, Brazil got more punches. This resulted in two consecutive chances for Richarlison shortly after the break. The Everton striker scored, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Soon, a diagonal shot from the striker ended with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s fist.
In search of the equalizer, Brazil coach Tite brought in new strikers. Vinicius Jr., the Real Madrid striker who grew up with Flamengo from Rio de Janeiro, replaced the invisible Everton “Cibolinha”, who was one of the achievements in the previous edition of the Copa America with the winner of Brazil and the first goal of the tournament. . Midfielder Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa has replaced Flamengo’s attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta.
It didn’t matter for Argentina, as Ajax player Nicolas Tagliafico entered the squad after the break. In the hunt for their first major title since 1993, national coach Lionel Scaloni’s team was determined to retain the lead. Brazil attacked, and Gabigol hit Martinez’s fist, but he didn’t create great chances. This was true for Argentina, who were waiting for a counter-response to decide the match once and for all. Shortly before, Messi came after a rebound punch and another superb pass from De Paul to goalkeeper Ederson only. The Argentine captain was not awarded his first major title with Argentina with a goal.
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