Angel Di Maria scored the only goal as Argentina defeated hosts Brazil in the Copa America final.
Like all other previous games, La Albiceleste gained an early lead with the help of Angel Di Maria, who chipped the ball over goalkeeper Ederson after Rodrigo de Paul provided a defence-splitting long pass.
Brazilians put more pressure on the Argentine in the second half, especially talisman Neymar trying to influence the game but were to no avail in the end.
Argentines successfully held on to their lead and eventually came out victorious.
Di Maria rises to the occasion again
Lionel Scaloni has had a lot of trust in Angel Di Mari throughout the tournament, providing him with considerable minutes as an impact substitute. Tonight the PSG star got the nod as a starter, and the decision reaped the rewards as he scored the decisive goal of the game to help Argentina lift the Copa America title.
Rodrigo de Paul’s excellent form continues
What a season it is turning out to be for Rodrigo De Paul as the Udinese midfielder was arguably the best player in the finals. The 27-year-old provided the assist for Di Maria’s goal with an eye-catching long ball which completely took out the Brazilian defence, while his work rate off the ball was also impressive.
A sturdy defensive display from the Argentines
Although Argentines barged their way into the finals with authority, they previously conceded goals at crucial junctures because of defensive loopholes. An attacking side like Brazil was expected to take full advantage of it.
In contrast, Scaloni’s defenders put on a disciplined performance amid the overwhelming pressure from the hosts. It looked like things can change any moment. But Nicolas Otamendi, Christian Romero, Gonzalo Montiel, alongside the defensive midfielders, held their nerves to eke out Brazil’s attack.
Neymar did everything during the match
Neymar did everything during the match to take Brazil through. It was heart-breaking to see the Brazilian talisman Neymar break down in tears after the defeat as he put his heart out in the finals. However, the PSG ace’s influence was reduced by the Argentine players who constantly man-marked him and tried to bring him to the ground. Nonetheless, the painful defeat will not take away the fact that Neymar was one of the best players of the tournament after racking up 2 goals and 5 assists.
Gabriel Jesus’ absence proved to be a major blow
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus was suspended for the finals due to the red card against Chile in the quarter-finals. As it turned out, Jesus’ absence was a huge blow. Tite’s side missed a striker and a reference point in the attack, and although Firmino was introduced in the second half, Jesus would have made a big difference.
Lionel Messi lifts an international trophy, finally
Lionel Messi has managed to put an end to the voodoo that has been running with the Argentine national team for years. Following the painful losses in the finals of World Cup 2014, Copa America 2015 and 2016, the Blaugrana ace deserved to win the trophy for all the hard work he has put in in this tournament. And it eventually ended up as a fairy tale for Messi, who led La Albiceleste to their first trophy in 28 years. Besides, the six-time Ballon d’Or was bestowed with the player of the tournament award.