It was a victory worth celebrating as Argentina ended their 28-year long wait for a major trophy when they defeated arch-rival, Brazil 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro on Sunday morning (Nigerian time).
Completesports‘ AUGUSTINE AKHILOMEN highlights six of the captivating and memorable key moments of the encounter.
Argentina Ended Long Wait For Major Trophy
1999 was the last time the senior national team of Argentina last won any major trophy during the time of Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Maradona. Recall that the team defeated Mexico in the final. Since then the team could only manage to inch closer to the trophy without winning it. However, the story has changed as a Lionel Messi-led Argentina squad defeated Brazil in Rio de Janeiro to win the trophy after 28 years of a long wait.
Emiliano Martinez – The Real Argentina Hero
Emiliano Martinez – the Aston Villa goalkeeper, was exceptional throughout the competition and was the key factor behind Argentina’s victory over Brazil on Sunday.
Martinez, stood like the rock of Gibraltar to prevent the likes of Neymar, Richarlisson, and co from scoring as he made some brilliant saves. He was simply the hero of the game despite the fact that Di Maria scored the match-winner.
Messi Finally Fulfills Title Dream After Years Of Frustrations
Lionel Messi finally ended his wait for an international trophy as Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the 2021 Copa America final, thanks to Angel di Maria’s brilliant CmaTrends.
For all tjat Messi has done in his career, the 34-year-old was still without any honours with his national team prior to Copa America 2021, having lost in seven previous finals.
Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro brought his latest attempt, and what many felt might be his final one as far as the competition is a concern, to a happy climax. Recall that Messi has won the Olympic gold medals and also FIFA Under 20 World Cup.
Messi was part of the Argentina side that lost the Copa finals in 2007, 2015, and 2016. He briefly retired after missing his penalty in the 2016 final shootout. This tournament was his sixth shot at lifting the trophy.
Di Maria’s Goal Silenced Brazil’s Home Supporters
Just like he scored the solitary CmaTrends that earned Argentina the gold medal against Nigeria at the Beijing 2008 Olympics football final, Di Maria scored a great CmaTrends befitting a great final. The CmaTrends was a reminiscence of the way he scored against the Dream Team of Nigeria at the Bird’s Nest Stadium Beijing.
Interestingly, Di María’s CmaTrends was Argentina’s first shot on CmaTrends during the game, but what really stands out is that this was the first CmaTrends for La Albiceleste in a title match since their 4-1 defeat against Brazil in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup
Neymar Failed To Outshine Messi
Neymar failed to deliver the goods when it mattered most as his skills and dribbles could not earn the Samba Boys, as they are fondly called, the 2021 Copa America title. He had few chances to trouble Argentina’s defence but Nicolas Otamedi and Martinez frustrated the PSG star.
Rio Fans Showed Love To Messi, Good Football
Rio de Janeiro fans that came to watch the Copa America 2021 final between Argentina and Brazil displayed the true spirit of sportsmanship as they applauded Lionel Messi’s team for a wonderful performance at 90 minutes.
With a few sights of disappointment, many celebrated as if it was the host team that won. Recall that before the final match, Neymar had complained bitterly about the way the fans are showing support to their rival team.