The classic encounter between Brasil and Argentina in the final eventually comes true as expected. However, both sides did not progress easily. They had to struggle before finally securing the places in the summit. The host is eyeing for their second consecutive trophy while Albiceleste is looking to end their title drought which has been going on since their victory in Copa America 1993. Both are locking horns in Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro on 10th July.
Selecao could only win 1-0 over Peru at the semifinal. Their only goal was scored by Lucas Paqueta on 35th minute after Neymar’s attempt to penetrate the opposition’ defence line on the right before passing the ball to Olympique Lyon man. Tite’s men had several other chances to extend their lead from Casemiro, Neymar and Casemiro but Pedro Gallese managed to deny or block them between the sticks. At the second half, it was Ricardo Gareca’s side who tried to find an equaliser with at least three shots on target but they lacked of clinical finish.
Brasil vs Peru 1-0
Goals: Lucas Paqueta (35)
Brasil: Ederson – Danilo, Marquinhos, Renan Lodi (Eder Militao 85), Thiago Silva – Casemiro, Fred (Fabinho 85), Everton (Everton Riberio 70), Lucas Paqueta (D Luiz 90) , Richarlison (Vinicius Junior 85) – Neymar
Peru: Pedro Gallese – A Corzo (C Lora 75), A Callens, A Santamaria, C Ramos (R Garcia 46), M Trauco (M Lopez 46) – C Cueva (S Ormeno 81), Yosemir Yotun, Renato Tapia (G Tavara 89), Sergio Pena – Gialuca Lapadula
Meanwhile, Argentina had to go through penalty shoot out to eliminate Colombia at the semifinal. They were held in a 1-1 draw before winning 3-2 with Aston Villa goalkeeper was the star of the game as he was able to block the penalty for three times. Within the normal time, Lautaro Martinez gave them the early lead but Luiz Diaz put them on a level term. Both sides were trading decent chances. Messi and Co had at least four opportunities to extend their lead including one hitting the post while Reinaldo Rueda’s men had three attempts with two of them saved by the post and the bar.
Argentina vs Colombia 1-1 (3-2)*
Goals: Lautaro Martinez (7), Luis Diaz (61)
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez – German Pezzela, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico, Nehuel Molina (Gonzalo Montiel 46) – Guido Rodriguez, Giovanni Lo Celso (Leandro Paredes 56), Rodrigo de Paul – Nicolas Gonzalez (Angel Di Maria 67), Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez
Colombia: David Ospinna – Davison Sanchez, Yerry Mina, D Munoz, W Tesillo (F Fabra 46) – Juan Cuadrado, Luis Diaz, W Barrios, G Cuellar (Y Chara 46) – Duvan Zapata (Miguel Borja 60), R Borre (Erwin Cardonna 46)
The clash of these two South American contenders was staged for three times in Copa America final with a non round-robin format. Albiceleste defeated their archrival back in 1937, while Brasil clinched a victory in 2004 and 2007 consecutively. Their last encounter took place two years ago at the Copa America 2019 semifinal. Alisson and Co dismantled Lionel Scaloni’s side 2-0. Avenging their bitter loss could be one of Messi’s mission in this final as well as snatching his first international trophy for his nation.