Copa America 2021 final: Angel di Maria's sole strike hands Argentina 15th title
It was Argentina's 15th Copa America title, while it has become the joint-most successful side in the tournament along with Uruguay. It was also Lionel Messi's maiden international title, while Brazil ended as the runner-up for the 12th time.
In what turned out an intense grand finale, Argentina stood tall to edge arch-rival and defending champion Brazil in the 2021 Copa America at the Estadio Jornalista Mário Filho (Maracanã) in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. Angel di Maria's sole strike handed Lionel Messi his first international title, besides making La Albiceleste the joint-most successful side in the tournament. Here, we present how it all panned out.
The opening half was intense, especially from the Argentines, with nine attempts being made. Nevertheless, in the 22nd minute, Di Maria successfully converted the assist from Rodrigo de Paul. He launched it over the Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, as the strike allowed Argentina to lead at half-time.
The following half saw Brazil up its ante, as its relentless approach allowed it to produce numerous attacks. A total of 11 attempts were made, with most of them coming from the host.
While attacks from Neymar and Racharlison tested the Argentine defence, it failed to budge. Although a disallowed goal through offside hurt the defending champion, Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez produced a couple of crucial saves, including one in the closing stages, as Argentina held on to Di Maria's sole strike to win the title.
- Since 2019, Argentina registered the least shots on target (1) in the opening half of the tournament.
- It was the first time that Argentina has scored a goal against Brazil in Brazil since 1979.
- It was Messi's first proper international title with Argentina since winning the gold during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
- Argentina has now become the join-most successful side of the tournament along with Uruguay, winning for the 15th occasion.
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