Lionel Messi Helps Carry Argentina To Victory Over Brazil In Copa América Final

Superstar Lionel Messi won his first trophy with his national team as Angel Di Maria’s goal gave Argentina a 1-0 win over hosts Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday. The victory at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium ended Argentina’s 28-year wait for a major trophy, and also ended Brazil’s unbeaten home record that stretched back more than 2,500 days.

Argentina claims victory over Brazil in final round of 2021 Copa América.

For the first time since 1993, Argentina took home a trophy over the weekend, and soccer great Lionel Messi finally earned that silver with his national team as they beat Brazil 1-0 at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium in the 2021 Copa América final. The championship game of the largest soccer tournament in South America came down to just one point, scored by Argentinian player Ángel Di María in the 22nd minute.

Angel Di Maria’s first-half goal was enough as Lionel Scaloni’s team ran through the tournament with impressive results with Messi leading the way, validating his international career with a long-awaited trophy.

Brazil, who struggled with consistency in front of goal for much of the tournament, had a nightmare in attack in a match that just never went their way. Brazil and Argentina’s old-time rivalry was amplified by Messi’s competitive friendship with Brazilian team captain and international soccer star Neymar. Following the game, the two shared an emotional embrace.

The win is considered a major milestone in Messi’s long and storied career.

Argentina’s win marks an especially important milestone for captain Lionel Messi, 34, who previously struggled to win an international championship with his home team. The soccer great is widely considered one of the best soccer players in the world, winning multiple titles with his Spanish club team Barcelona, but never sharing the same success with Argentina, until Saturday.

“It’s crazy. I can’t explain how happy I feel,” Messi said. “I’ve been sad many times but I knew it would happen and there’s no better moment. This team deserved it,” he added.

“If there’s one thing that you could pick apart on Messi’s legacy, it’s that he’d never taken Argentina to the mountaintop, either the World Cup or Copa América, which for them is almost just as important,” ESPN’s Sebastian Salazar told NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

“It’s a massive moment in not just Messi’s career but in the history of soccer,” Salazar added. “We’ve been watching this dude dominate the game for almost 15 years and to see him finally get that moment, I think if you’re a football lover you think, OK that story’s complete.”

The Copa América played on despite a COVID-19 wave that continues to devastate cities and towns across South America.

Argentina’s win over Brazil is also noteworthy as the championship game took place in an empty Maracanã stadium thanks to an ongoing wave of COVID-19 that is devastating South America.

Organizers and local authorities only permitted a small number of spectators in hopes of further reducing COVID-19 transmission as Brazil continues to work at curbing numbers. At the end of June, the country reported an all-time high in cases of the disease.

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