Argentina celebrated its first major title in twenty-eight on Sunday against Brazil’s arch-rivals with the Copa America victory. Argentina’s winning goal at the Maracana bowl in Rio de Janeiro came within the twenty-second minute when Rodrigo de Paul created a long pass to Ángel di Maria. The 33-year-old veteran striker counted on some sloppy defending from left-back Renan Lodi to require management and lob it past goalkeeper Ederson.
It was a difficult match, with 41 fouls, nine yellow cards, and Argentina spending a lot of the half defending their second-half lead from Angel Di Maria’s goal. It was the third goal Brazil conceded within the tournament. Neymar tried laboriously with dribbles and passes, however the Selecao barely vulnerable Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Along with coach Tite, the group had won its past five matches inside the Copa America and scored goals.
The Finals with Argentina
Brazil started the match with 3-0 against Venezuela and 4-0 against Peru. They jointly won the third group match against Columbia and won the last group match against Ecuador. In the quarter-final, they beat Chile and defeated Peru 1-0 within the semi-final.
On the other hand, Argentina won its first match against Chile and the second against Uruguay. In the third group match, Argentina beat Paraguay 1-0, and in the last game, they thrashed Bolivia by 4-1. In the quarter-finals, they beat Ecuador 3-0. A penalty-shootout win against Colombia in the semi-final led Argentina to secure its spot in the final.
In the Copa America tournament, Argentina has won sixteen matches out of a total of thirty-four. Brazil won in ten games. Brazil coach Tite tried to alter the game’s dynamic by substituting defensive midfielder Fred for Roberto Firmino and managed to try to do so for the second half of the match. However, though Selecao had a lot of ball possession, there were few real opportunities.
Messi came upon Lautaro Martinez for Argentina’s sole goal within the assigned ninety minutes before changing the primary penalty of the match. The 34-year-old has been unstoppable in the game, wrenching up four goals and five assists within the tournament to date. The game itself was an unsatisfying one, with Argentina having twenty-one fouls. However, Brazil came out violently in the second half of the match, and as time passed on, they threw many players forward. At one point, they had five recognised idolising and strikers in one place.
Argentina’s win was a triumph for Lionel Messi, who picked up his first-ever title in his blue and white shirt after quite a few decades. Messi finished the tournament’s goalscorer with four goals. He was also appointed as the best player besides Neymar. However, he did not speak throughout and lost a golden chance to wrap the sport up in the remaining 2 minutes. The title provides the expert relief in the end and queries his career on his effectiveness in the national team.
More significantly, Messi is finally a winner at the international level when finishing the losing phase in four previous finals – significantly in the Copa America and once in the 2014 World Cup. People celebrated the victory on the streets of Argentina after its first major title since 1993. The 34-year-old player, Leonel Messi, has been in perfect shape over the previous few weeks and scored four times and two trademark free-kicks.
Lionel Messi’s performance
In the last few matches, Messi’s performance was not as breathtaking as in past matches of the competition, where he scored four goals and had five assists. He had a transparent chance within the 88th minute and tried to dribble past Ederson. However, the Brazilian goalkeeper stopped him. But Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, mentioned that he’s ‘thrilled than ever’ at the prospect of winning an elusive international trophy when Argentina beat Colombia on penalties to succeed in the Copa America final.
Messi’s influence was rather more than his statistics. His presence upraised the complete team, hoping that they might finish their trophy drought despite their poor record in Brazil. There was an extra motivation to serve Messi, a hero to several of his teammates, to win a world honour with Argentina. In the finals, Barcelona was heavily marshalled by the Brazilians. It highly affected his influence on the sport in terms of a creative force.
However, he created it together with his work rate. He ran inexhaustibly throughout the sport, pursuing opponents, endeavouring them, and sometimes launching counter-attacks. He was happy to draw in a lot of Brazilian bodies to create spaces for his teammates. He was able to sacrifice himself. In the semi-finals, too, Messi competes through the pain. He bleeds from his ankle joint in a very bruising semi-final convince Colombia, continuing to battle on enjoying the complete one hundred twenty minutes of the match then grading within the fighting.
“It was a tough game, but we deserved it. “At times, it became difficult because of the way they defended. But we have (Emiliano Martinez) who is a phenomenon. We knew he was going to make those saves. We know what he is capable of, and we trusted him”, Messi said in an interview with Argentine TV after the match. And despite missing out on the returns within the curiosity, he matched Maradona’s accomplishment of getting a hand in 75 per cent of Argentina’s goals at the 1986 tourney at the 2021 Copa America.
Messi’s reaction at the full-time whistle aforesaid it all. He happily shed his tears and looked at his team. After a long sixteen years of his career with no reward and loads of heartbreaks, Messi ultimately won a huge victory. A player for whom nothing on the soccer pitch had ever appeared hard had to try and do it by the arduous means. Having spent most of the final soccer clubs and running after the opponents to chase him, Messi won his 1st trophy in international soccer. It is an impressive win that people will not forget for several years.
Last Major Title Since 1993
Argentina’s last significant competition win came at the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador, where Gabriel Batistuta drove them to a 2-1 against Mexico in the finals. Messi did not hide his enthusiasm towards his former player and close friend Neymar in the final. He said that Neymar is still his friend, and he wants him to be there too. It will be tough for Neymar in the future, but he will always help him out.
Messi has spoken regarding the dream of winning a title with Argentina and his compatriot’s skills a lot of a global trophy means to him. In the past, his teammates were deuced for holding him down by missing possibilities in finals or failing to match his robust levels of brilliance or focus. Because of their coach Lionel Scaloni, they were undefeated in 19 games, including the last Copa America in 2019.
The older and experienced players such as Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria know that winning the World Cup is an unlikely situation, and Saturday’s final might be their performance. These experienced players and the new players who have grown up idolising the person they would become their teammate recognise themselves as players of Argentina and Messi and an expectation to reward him with the title performances merit.
Edited by Tanish Sachdev