Copa America: Argentina beat Brazil, Messi wins first major international trophy
On Saturday, Argentina won their first major title in 28 years, defeating Brazil 1-0 for a Copa America record-tying 15th title.
After a decade of club and individual brilliance, Argentina’s victory was especially sweet for Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who earned his first trophy in a blue-and-white shirt.
For the second time in his Copa career, Di Maria made his debut, scoring the game’s first goal midway through the first half.
Renan Lodi was unable to intercept Rodrigo De Paul’s long throw forward, and Di Maria effortlessly lobbed the stranded Ederson.
In a thrilling second half, Brazil poured up the pressure, but despite fielding five strikers, they were unable to equalize against an Argentine defence anchored by the excellent De Paul.
The contest itself was a let-down, with Argentina coming out on top in a tense first half that saw 21 fouls.
At the final whistle, the Argentine players gathered their captain.
Speaking after the game, Messi could not hide his joy.
“It’s crazy, the happiness the feeling is inexplicable. I knew that at some point it was going to happen,” he said. “The objective was clear and we were able to be champions. The happiness is immense. Many times I have dreamed of this.
“I told Fideo (Di Maria) that today he was going to have his revenge and that’s how it was. I want to share this with those team-mates who were so close so many times and it was not given to them. This is also for them.
With four goals, Messi tied for the tournament’s highest goal scorer and was named joint best player alongside Neymar. However, Messi was silent throughout Saturday’s encounter, and he squandered a fantastic opportunity to end the game with two minutes left.
Argentina has won the Copa America for the 15th time, tying Uruguay for the most victories in the competition’s history.
Argentina’s victory extended Lionel Scaloni’s unbeaten streak to 20 games, and it was Brazil’s first competitive loss since losing to Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinals in 2018.