Lionel Messi wins first Copa America as Argentina beat Brazil in final

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Messi and Di Maria
Lionel Messi celebrated Angel di Maria’s decisive goal

Lionel Messi ended his wait for a first major international title as Argentina beat Brazil in the Copa America final in Rio’s Maracana stadium.

Messi, 34, finally claimed top-level honours with his country in his 10th major tournament – while Argentina won their first Copa America in 28 years.

Angel Di Maria proved the matchwinner, with his superb lob the only goal of the game.

Messi had a chance to sign off the win but slipped with the goal at his mercy.

Everton forward Richarlison had Brazil’s best chances, seeing an effort ruled out for offside and then stinging the fingers of keeper Emi Martinez, who also saved from Gabriel Barbosa, but the defending champions fell short in a disappointing performance.

It means Messi’s opposite number 10 and former Barcelona team-mate Neymar’s own personal pursuit of international success continues, having missed Brazil’s 2019 Copa win through injury.

The game was watched by a small crowd of 7,000 invited guests, because of Covid-19 restrictions, but was the first of the tournament to have spectators in attendance.

The sparse home supporters made their voices heard, though, particularly every time Messi touched the ball, booing and jeering the forward.

The tournament, delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic and moved from initial co-hosts Colombia and Argentina, was switched to 2019 hosts Brazil in a last-minute decision which received criticism in light of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

More to follow.

Country Played Won Lost Minutes Goals Stage
2006 3 2 0 121 1 QF
2010 5 4 1 450 0 QF
2014 7 5 1 693 4 RU
2018 4 1 2 360 1 L16
TOTALS 19 12 4 1624 6
Figures provided by Stats Perform
Country Played Won Lost Minutes Goals Stage
2007 6 5 1 456 2 RU
2011 4 1 0 390 0 QF
2015 6 3 0 570 1 RU
2016 5 4 0 374 5 RU
2019 6 3 2 487 1 SF
2021 6 4 0 540 4
TOTALS 33 20 3 2817 13
Figures provided by Stats Perform

Line-ups

Argentina

Formation 4-4-2

  • 23Martínez
  • 4MontielBooked at 89mins
  • 13RomeroSubstituted forPezzellaat 79′minutes
  • 19OtamendiBooked at 81mins
  • 8Acuña
  • 11Di MaríaSubstituted forPalaciosat 79′minutes
  • 7de PaulBooked at 68mins
  • 5ParedesBooked at 33minsSubstituted forRodríguezat 54′minutes
  • 20Lo CelsoBooked at 51minsSubstituted forTagliaficoat 63′minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 22MartínezSubstituted forGonzálezat 79′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Armani
  • 3Tagliafico
  • 6Pezzella
  • 9Agüero
  • 12Marchesín
  • 14Palacios
  • 15González
  • 18Rodríguez
  • 21Correa
  • 24Gómez
  • 25Martínez
  • 26Molina

Brazil

Formation 4-3-3

  • 23Ederson
  • 2Danilo
  • 4MarquinhosBooked at 82mins
  • 3Thiago Silva
  • 16Lodi dos SantosBooked at 70minsSubstituted forLeite de Souza Juniorat 76′minutes
  • 17Tolentino Coelho de LimaBooked at 72minsSubstituted forBarbosa Almeidaat 76′minutes
  • 5Casemiro
  • 8FredBooked at 3minsSubstituted forFirminoat 45′minutes
  • 19Sousa SoaresSubstituted forVinícius Júniorat 63′minutes
  • 10Neymar
  • 7Richarlison

Substitutes

  • 1Alisson
  • 6Lobo Silva
  • 11de Barros Ribeiro
  • 12Pereira da Silva
  • 13Leite de Souza Junior
  • 14Militão
  • 15Fabinho
  • 18Vinícius Júnior
  • 20Firmino
  • 21Barbosa Almeida
  • 22Rech Ortiz
  • 25Douglas Luiz

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