Messi takes Copa America: Argentina beat arch-rivals

Messi wins the Copa America
Argentina beats their arch rivals

Despite outstanding players, the Albiceleste struggled recently at international tournaments. Now the team beats arch rivals Brazil and is crowned South American champions. It is also the long-awaited title in the blue and white jersey for superstar Messi.

Argentina won the Copa América final and became South American champions. The team around superstar Lionel Messi beat defending champions Brazil 1-0 on Saturday at the legendary Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Messi, who is currently without a club, fulfilled a long-cherished dream and won his first international title with the Argentine national team. So far he had only won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games wearing the Albiceleste jersey.

After the final whistle, the world-class striker hugged numerous teammates and coach Lionel Scaloni. Later his teammates lifted Messi on the shoulders and cheered him on. The players celebrated their victory in front of the spectator stands of the few Argentinian fans, a visibly relaxed Messi threw hand kisses into the audience.

In the 21st minute, Ángel Di María of Paris Saint-Germain had lifted the ball over the Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson after a long pass from his own half and made it 1-0 for Argentina. In the 52nd minute, the Brazilian fans could only cheer briefly: Richarlison pushed the ball over the line, but was previously offside. Two minutes later, the Everton striker was again dangerous after a cross from Neymar, but the Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez was able to parry. Shortly before the final whistle, the Aston Villa goalkeeper cleared again after a shot by Gabriel Barbosa.

One copa, two best players

Only a few thousand spectators were able to watch the final in Maracanã live. The city administration of Rio de Janeiro had only allowed a limited audience due to the corona pandemic. Around 4500,000 fans and invited guests were ultimately in the stadium and still created a good atmosphere. The Argentine media raved about the Maracanazo II – based on the decisive game of the 1950 World Cup, in which Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1.

Even before the final of the Copa America, Messi and Neymar had been voted the best players in the South American Championship. In every game they had demonstrated their skills, which made them players with technical and tactical quality as well as with intelligence with and without the ball, said a commission of experts from the South American football association Conmebol. “It is impossible to choose just one best player because this tournament has two best players,” the statement said.