In the early hours of Wednesday (GMT), Copa America hosts Brazil recorded a 2-0 victory over fellow South American heavyweight Argentina to book their place in the final of the competition.
Jesus and Firmino goal seals Selecao progress
The clash started at breakneck speed, with tackles flying in all over the place, with ten fouls accrued in the opening ten minutes of the game. Argentina had the first attempt on goal, as midfielder Leandro Paredes fired a 30-year effort wide of goal.
However, it was the hosts who took the lead. A good team move saw Dani Alves find Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and the forward’s cross found Gabriel Jesus who had the simple task of tapping home. Argentina came close to an equalising goal on the half-hour mark. Sergio Aguero flicked a Lionel Messi free-kick on to the bar.
The home side sat back and seemed content with the one-goal lead. However, once again Argentina hit the woodwork just before the hour mark, as Messi struck the post from 15 yards with a powerful strike.
With La Albiceleste desperately seeking a leveller, Brazil finished the game as a contest. Once again it was the forward pairing of Jesus and Firmino who did the damage. Jesus advanced down the left flank and played the ball across the face of goal for the Liverpool striker finish off. The visitors had no reply and once again Argentina have failed at an international tournament.
Another missed opportunity at international level for Messi
Once again Argentina have failed to win an international tournament. The tournament is another missed opportunity for the great Lionel Messi to make a statement to his critics.
In truth, this tournament was not like others for Argentina, where Messi dragged them through at times in previous competitions. The Barcelona star does not play at the same level for his national team as he does for his club team that is for sure.
The 32-year-old did very little of note at the Copa America 2019. In fact, for a player of his quality, his displays were disappointing in Brazil. Maybe he tries too hard for his country, but at times he has not stood up when the team needed him.
His international teammates have no doubt not helped his cause when it comes to winning an international trophy. However, he has not helped himself either with some anonymous performances.
There were fears that Messi may retire from the international game. However, he has stated that he will not retire for a second time from the international game. He, of course, retired from international football in 2016 before changing his mind and returning to the fold.
Brazil remain the favourites to win the Copa America
Brazil’s victory sets up a final against either Chile or Peru. The Selecao started the tournament as favourites to win the trophy on home soil, and Tite’s team remain the favourites to win Copa America 2019. If Chile makes it to the final, they will have a chance to win their third straight Copa America in a row. However, home soil for a Copa America usually means a Brazilian victory, as the Selecao has won the four Copa America staged on home soil.
In truth, Brazil have not been great throughout the tournament. However, they have produced when it matters and will feel highly confident of winning the competition for the first time since 2007.
Will Brazil now finish the job and win the Copa America?