Argentina Takes Copa America Title Home
Argentina Takes Copa America Title Home – Argentina took on the difficult challenge of playing Brazil in Brazil on Saturday. Both teams were in fantastic form coming into the game. Argentina and Brazil were both unbeaten in their last five games. Argentina won all five while Brazil had tied Ecuador in late June. This, however, was a game of two halves.
Argentina were the better team in the first, but Brazil had a plethora of chances in the second and looked plenty more lively.
With an early goal in the 22nd minute from Angel Di Maria, who calmly took a long ball out of the air and chipped it over Ederson classily, Argentina was able to hold onto a slim lead until the game’s finish. Both teams had only two shots on goal, but Brazil’s thirteen shots compared to Argentina’s six signified how much of an attack Argentina had once they took the lead.
Brazil had 59% possession, and the game quickly turned into Argentina playing with eleven men behind the ball and Brazil trying to force their way through the compact Argentina defensive shape.
Between these two South American powerhouses, they did not play a brand of soccer near the level either team is capable of. Thiago Silva spoke after the game about the quality of soccer as the game progressed: “In the second half, there was no contest—only one team tried to play football, the other just wasted time as we knew they would. It’s not an excuse; we didn’t do what we had to, principally in the first half.”
The game was chippy, to nobody’s surprise. Forty-one fouls, 21 of which came in the first half, amounted to nine yellow cards. Neymar even had a six-inch piece of his shorts torn away at one point. Frustration from both sides arose out of the game. Argentina had difficulty handling some of Brazil’s skillful attackers. Argentina needed to match the intensity.
Messi Finally Brings Silverware Home to Argentina
The biggest headline of all that comes out of this game is Messi finally able to check off international silverware off his bucket list. He has done just about all there is to do at the club and individual level but was never able to bring home a trophy for his country at the senior level.
The 34-year old has played in his fair share of international competitions, but failure after failure plagued him. 2007, 2015, and 2016 Copa America finals all resulted in losses. Messi met a similar fate in the 2014 World Cup final against Germany. All the disappointment saw Messi retire from the national team twice, yet he always came back. And now, with four goals and five assists throughout the tournament, the tournament’s Play of the Tournament award, and Golden Boot, Messi finally has the first-place trophy to his name.
Messi will search for even more silverware in the World Cup next year in Qatar, where he will be 35 years old and increasing his record number of caps for Argentina. “When you win, you have to take advantage of that momentum. It’s easier when results accompany you. We must take advantage of this and this selection of players.” This was a win for Messi. Argentina’s reaction after the final whistle was indicative of that. He was surrounded, and all players, whether wearing yellow or blue, regarded their joy at Messi achieving a lifelong dream of his.