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Jul 11, 2021

Argentina end 28-year wait to lift trophy beating Brazil

Reuters
Argentina's Lionel Messi holds the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the Conmebol 2021 Copa America football tournament final match against Brazil at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 10, 2021. Argentina won 1-0. Photo by Carl De Souza/AFP
Argentina’s Lionel Messi holds the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the Conmebol 2021 Copa America football tournament final match against Brazil at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 10, 2021. Argentina won 1-0. Photo by Carl De Souza/AFP

Football 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 (Sunday early morning Nepal time).

The victory at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium ended Argentina’s 28-year wait for a major trophy, and ended Brazil’s unbeaten home record that stretched back more than 2,500 days.

Di Maria started for just the second time in the Copa and he justified his selection by scoring the opener midway through the first half.

Renan Lodi failed to cut out a long ball forward from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria lobbed the stranded Ederson with aplomb.

Brazil piled on the pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they could not get an equalizer against an Argentine defense protected by the outstanding Rodrigo De Paul.

Argentina’s win was a particular triumph for Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who picked up his first ever title in a blue and white shirt after more than a decade of club and individual honours.

Messi finished the tournaments joint top goal scorer with four goals and was elected joint best player along with Neymar. But he was quiet throughout and uncharacteristically missed a golden opportunity to wrap the game up with two minutes remaining.

When the final whistle went, Argentina TV declared Argentina Champions, Lionel Messi Champion! The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they draw level with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.

Their win extended their sequence of undefeated matches to 20 under Lionel Scaloni and handed Brazil their first competitive defeat since they lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

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