Argentina beat Brazil to lift Copa America


Paris Saint-Germain star Angel Di Maria scored the only goal of the game as Argentina edged past Brazil 1-0 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro to win the Copa America.

The 33-year-old winger ran onto Rodrigo De Paul’s slick through ball after 22 minutes to lob the Brazil goalkeeper Ederson.

A niggly and fractious tussle ensued after the strike.

The Argentina skipper Lionel Messi could have settled matters in the closing stages but the Barcelona forward slipped when advancing on Ederson.

Minutes later though his mishap was an irrelevance as the Argentina squad joyously celebrated the first trophy for the senior national team for 28 years.

Success

“We fell short so many times and dreamt so much about this,” said Di Maria, who was named man of the match.

“Many people said we wouldn’t manage it, we were criticized a lot. But we kept knocking at the door and kept going until today we knocked it down and entered.”

The final was the first match of the tournament, which was originally due to take place last year, to allow in fans as 7,800 – a tenth of the Maracana capacity.

Argentina last enjoyed success at a major international tournament in 1993 when Gabriel Batistuta’s brace gave them a 2-1 win over Mexico in the Copa America final in Ecuador.

Joy

“It’s a great title, especially for our people,” said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni. “The fans support the team unconditionally. I think they can identify with this team that never gives in,”

Messi was deemed player of the tournament after finishing the competition as top marksman with four goals. The 34-year-old also boasted the accolade of the player who set up most goals.

He etched himself further into Argentine legend by equalling Javier Mascerano’s record of 147 caps for the senior team.

He lifted the crown at the end of a record-extending 151st appearance for La Albiceleste.

Originally published on RFI



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