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Messi FINALLY claims international trophy with Argentina's Copa America win

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11th July, 2021
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Argentina have won their first major football title in 28 years, beating hosts Brazil 1-0 to claim a record-equalling 15th Copa America crown.

Promoted to the starting line-up, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Di Maria coolly lobbed over Brazil goalkeeper Ederson for the only goal in the 22nd-minute of Saturday’s final in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

Argentina had been Copa runners-up at four of the past seven tournaments, losing to Brazil in 2004 and 2007.

The triumph marks Lionel Messi’s maiden piece of major silverware with Argentina, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner dominant for most of the tournament, finishing with most goals (four) and most assists (five).

In a physical encounter, Brazil superstar Neymar received plenty of attention while Messi was unable to exude his normal influence.

Brazil started the better but could only manage scuffed efforts on goal from Everton and Richarlison before Argentina struck against the run of play.

Rodrigo De Paul’s hopeful ball forward eluded Selecao left-back Renan Lodi, allowing Di Maria in behind and he calmly poked over the onrushing Ederson.

Di Maria was a constant threat in the first half, with a left-foot effort blocked by Marquinhos before Messi flashed wide.

With the half-time injection of Roberto Firmino, Brazil pressed and thought they had equalised in the 52nd minute when Richarlison hit the back of the net but was offside in the lead-up.

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The Everton forward tested Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez at his near post shortly after, with the Aston Villa man saving smartly.

Brazil substitute Gabriel Barbosa had a late volley brilliantly thwarted by Martinez, before an exhausted Messi spurned a golden opportunity to seal the win from De Paul’s throughball.

© AAP

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