Friday, January 28

Argentina won the Copa América and Leo Messi ended his spell of droughts with the senior team


• With a stellar performance by Dí María and Rodrigo de Paul, the sky blue and white team surprised everyone at the Maracana stadium.

• Messi was not this time a figure but he became the great architect of the consecration so sought after for 28 years

Maracanazo and party. An unforgettable party. Argentina was left with the Copa América in Brazil. Won 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro and ended a 28-year drought. Leo Messi broke the spell Y He also had his first title with the senior team. He looked for it at the age of 34, after three lost finals, he found that he was pursuing so much. Neymar She went to hug him before lifting the elusive trophy with her two hands. On his face was drawn the smile that spread to a country that, in a pandemic, began its party at nightfall.

A Brazil and Argentina is not just anything. The classic is played with the knife in the mouth. It could not be otherwise in the Rio night. For this reason, from the beginning, the game was very difficult, with more character than imagination. The players put the leg strong.

Nobody wanted to risk, and it had to be a mistake or Messi’s personal adventure, chosen as the best of the tournament and top scorer, with four goals, or Neymar, those that opened a breach in the defense. The Maracana field did not help much to the fluidity of the game: the ball bounced like a rabbit. It seemed at times that it was being played on a beach in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil played closer to the Argentine area, but it was difficult for them to reach Martínez’s goal with danger. At 21 minutes the stadium rocked: Rodrigo De PauHe stole a ball in the center of the court and masterfully enabled Angel Di Maria. The PSG player was left alone in front of Ederson and placed the ball over his head. The goal came unexpectedly and the blue and white team. The locals did not expect such a setback, and although they reacted immediately, they could not find a way to overcome the score. Nor could they take advantage of Argentina’s difficulties to leave the goal with the ball at their feet. The team led by Lionel Scaloni then fell back to preserve the result.

A dramatic second half

Tité decided to shuffle the cards again and plant a more offensive team: he took out Fred, who was cautioned, and placed in the attack to Roberto Firmino. The first minutes of the complement did not show variations in relation to the first stage. Argentina had to exert enormous physical effort to stop the Brazilian incursions. Scaloni sought to reinforce the midfield when the canarinha began to gain prominence. Guido Rodríguez replaced Paredes to have more serenity and domination. At 55 minutes, Ney was finally able to get rid of the markers and left Richarlison alone. The forward’s shot met the hands of goalkeeper Martínez.

Argentina tried to withstand the attacks with what little air it had left. Scaloni took out Lo Celso and replaced another defender, Nicolás Tagliafico. Vinicius Junior He left for Everton to give Brazil more offensive variants. The game began to be a round trip. Messi, who played despite some discomfort, was at the gates of the feat after 62 minutes, only against the world. Every time he tried to intervene, he had four and even five Brazilians on top.

Something similar happened to Neymar who, by pure dribbling, forced Argentina to foul or throw the ball far away. The figure of ten was growing. Tité was gambled to kill or be killed– He had started without a number nine and then put Gabigol together with Firmino. Emerson replaced Lodi. The last quarter of an hour was dramatic. Gabriel Romero, who had been insurmountable, had to retire injured. Pezzella rose to the occasion.

Frictions grew and there was even an attempted fight after Otamendi blew up Neymar. At 82, Gabigol was left with a gasp. Time was running out and Brazil was losing the tie. Messi no longer had air. It was a matter of enduring the siege.

Martínez prevented the parity on Gabigol’s left foot. Messi, on a backlash, lost an unimaginable possibility after being enabled by the heroic De Paul. Only the terrible state of the grass can explain that the best of all did not have his great consecrating goal. But Leo wanted above all a collective achievement. He had it. When he heard the closing whistle, he knelt and, on the grass, covered his face. They were all hugging him. “That from the hand of Leo Messi, we are all going to turn around “, they sang to him at the end of the final.

Messi fans

“Messi triumphs, Neymar cries”, titled leaf La Pulga achieved something exceptional in Rio de Janeiro: winning not only the sympathy of many Brazilians but their encouragement. Nothing like this had ever happened. The almost empty Maracana prevented him from witnessing that unlikely scene. Not only has the enormous respect that his figure arouses weighed on this inclination. The Copa América was an attempt by the far-right government to raise a smokescreen at the moment of greatest loss of prestige for President Jair Bolsonaro. He had the invaluable help of Conmebol, the South American soccer federation. Before the final was disputed, and as outsiders to the definition, 54% of Brazilians were in favor of an impeachment of Bolsonaro for his responsibility in the pandemic that killed almost 532,000 people and was disputed in the middle of the health emergency.

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