Argentina’s 28-year wait for an international trophy finally comes to an end, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has finally won a major tournament with his country thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over rival Brazil in Rio de Janeiro to win the 2021 Copa América.
Argentina played an almost perfect first half and went ahead in the 22nd minute of the game thanks to Ángel Di María goal. Di Maria lobbed Ederson to give his country the lead after Rodrigo De Paul put in a spectacular long ball to find the PSG talisman.
Argentina defended well after scoring the lead, a gameplan they have employed throughout the entire tournament: score early and defend their lead with tough, physical defence and a whole lot of heart.
Among the major highlights of the game was Richarlison’s goal that was disallowed and then a huge chance that required a brilliant save from Emi Martínez to keep them in the game.
After managing to weather Selecao’s early storm, Argentina began retreating and staying deeper and deeper in their own half. They also started wasting time with some rough tackles that took Brazil out of their rhythm, a strategy that worked for them.
Messi had a huge chance to double the lead on a one-on-one with Ederson after a spectacular through ball by Rodrigo De Paul but missed it, and Martínez needed to make a superb save to stop Gabigol from scoring the equalizer.
Injury time was all about Argentina wasting time, and they did it successfully. The final whistle came, and so did the tears on Lionel Messi’s face. He has finally done it for his nation after a decade of failed attempts. He will surely enjoy it, probably more than anyone else.