Lionel Messi-led-Argentina clinched its first major trophy after 28 years with his national team as Angel Di Maria’s goal gave a 1-0 win over hosts Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday.
The winning goal came in the 22nd minute after Rodrigo de Pail made a long pass to Angel di Maria. The 33-year old veteran striker took control of left-back Renan Lodi and lobbed it past goalkeeper Ederson. It was only the third goal Brazil conceded in the tournament.
While Neymar put in an effort with dribbles and passes, the Selecao barely threatened Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Also, Messi could have wrapped up the win two minutes from time but slipped when clean through with only Ederson to beat.
The victory at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro also ended Brazil’s unbeaten home record that stretched back more than 2500 days. It also brought Messi’s first-ever international trophy. Last, in 1993, Argentina had a successful tournament when Gabriel Batistuta’s brace gave them a 2-1 win over Mexico in the Copa final in Ecuador.
While 34-year-old Messi’s odyssey has come to an end, Brazil’s Neymar, five years his junior, is still without a major title at the international level having missed the Selecao’s win on home soil two years ago through injury.
While there was jubilation for Argentina at the Maracana, it was heart-breaking for Brazil. After the match got over, there were quite a few defining images, including Argentina lifting their champion player Lionel Messi on the shoulders and Messi finally getting his hands on a major international trophy for the first time in his career.