The 2021 edition of the CONMEBOL’S Copa America edition came to an intriguing end in the early hours of Sunday morning.
In a match that lived up to its expectations, the intense physicality and end-to-end actions, Argentina won their first international trophy since 1993. But more importantly, Messi eventually won his home country an international trophy after 9 failed attempts
Even though it was the shouts and chants of Messi that rented the air after about more than 95 minutes of intense battle and endless tackles, the match was decided in the 22nd minute after Di Maria lobbed in a fantastic goal from Rodrigo De Paul’s lofted pass.
And even though the Argentine talisman had a relatively quiet game and even wasted a glorious chance in the 88th minute, it won’t eventually matter at the end as he finally dropped to the ground in joy at the blow of the full-time whistle.
In a contrast of emotions, Messi’s opposite number 10 and former Barcelona teammate Neymar sank to his knees in tears at the final whistle, as his pursuit of international success continues, having missed Brazil’s 2019 Copa win through injury.
The game played at the Maracana stadium (where Messi suffered a world cup final defeat in 2014) with a small crowd of 7,000 guests because of COVID-19 restrictions. It was, however, the first of the tournament to have spectators in attendance. The fans, made up largely of Brazilians, made their presence known by jeering and booing whenever Messi’s foot touches the ball.
Messi indeed had a brilliant tournament, as he helped his team with 4 goals and 5 assists, finishing the tournament as both the highest goalscorer and playmaker.
We wait to see to what extent this would be a bragging right for Messi fans who have constantly reiterated that the Argentine most capped player and record goalscorer is the greatest of all time.
The attention of football fans will now be turned to another continental football final match taking place tonight at the Wembley stadium.
The Euro2020 final match between the three Lions of England and the Azzuris of Italy is also a match that we anticipate to be keenly contested and promises to be a fight of the ages.