This year’s Copa America finally becomes Lionel Messi’s true glory for his nation. The 34-year old skipper really inspired Argentina to end their trophy drought for 28 years. He might not have scored or provided any assist in the final but his role was still inevitable to lead Albiceleste win Copa America 2021 in Brasil, or their fifteenth title, by thumping the host 1-0. Angel Di Maria’s chipping ball found the back of the net after taking advantage of Rodrigo de Paul’s long pass. The game was tight and tough with more physical duels in the midfield area leading to fouls and free kicks. Messi himself had a chance to seal the win from a counter attack scenario unfortunately he was not able to capitalise it. Selecao under Tite was having a hard time to break the deadlock. One attempt from Richarlison was disallowed at the second half, while the rest of chances were mostly denied by Nicolas Otamendi and Co plus Emiliano Martinez’s block and safe.
Argentina vs Brasil 1-0
Goals: Angel di Maria (22)
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez – Cristian Romero (German Pezzella 79), Nicolas Otamendi, Gonzalo Montiel, Mathias Acuna – Leandro Paredes (Guido Rodriguez 54), Giovanni Lo Celso, (Nicolas Tagliafico 63), Rodrigo de Paul – Angel Di Maria (Exequiel Palacios 79), Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez (Nicolas Gonzalez 79)
Brasil: Ederson – Danilo, Marquinhos, Renan Lodi (Emerson Royal 76), Thiago Silva – Casemiro, Fred (Roberto Firmino 46), Everton (Vinicius Junior 63), Lucas Paqueta (Gabriel Barbosa 76), Neymar – Richarlison
This is Messi’s first title for Argentina senior side. Previously, he was only known for winning the World Cup U-20 in 2005 and gold medal in Olympic Games 2008. Quite surprisingly, the latter one had a similarity with this year’s victory. It was also Angel Di Maria who bagged the winning goal against Nigeria in the final in Beijing Olympic Stadium with rather similar way to score, the chipping ball.
Messi’s huge role in this tournament is not exactly overrated. The Barcelona man was awarded as the top scorer alongside Colombia’s Luis Diaz with four goals, became top assists provider by collecting five assists and voted as the best player together with the host’s star who is also his former team mate Neymar. Messi is not the only one who won the individual accolades. The goalie Emiliano Martinez is chosen as the best goalkeeper. Meanwhile, Brasil captain, Thiago Silva, was awarded for the Fair Play.