It is what the world has been waiting for! A Copa America final between Brazil and Argentina. It is the biggest rivalry in South America. The last final between both teams was in 2007 with the Selecao winning 3-0.
The historic Maracana stadium will be the host of this spectacle, albeit without fans. The Albiceleste lost the 2014 World Cup final at this ground.
The defending champions and the 1993 champions have won a combined 23 continental titles.
After losing out in three finals (2007, 2015, 2016), Lionel Messi will be desperate to win his first major title with his country.
Neymar was ruled out of 2019 final which his team won. Hence, the PSG forward will have a point to prove in Saturday’s final.
Brazil’s Road To The Final
Brazil became the host of the Copa America 2021 championship within just two weeks of the start of the competition. Still, the pressure was immense.
Tite’s men hit the ground running from the get-go and breezed through the group stages. They hit Venezuela for three and Peru for four. After a third 2-1 win against Colombia, the defending champions were through to the quarterfinals. Tite then had the luxury to rest his more important players for the final group stage match against Ecuador which they drew 1-1.
Brazil faced a sterner test in regular campaigners, Chile. La Roja had finished as the fourth-best team in group A. Lyon’s Lucas Pacqueta solitary goal was enough to guide them past a resilient Chilean side.
Pacqueta was also the hero in the semi-final against Peru, finishing off a fine assist from Neymar.
Argentina’s Journey To The Final
Argentina was the initial host for the competition. However, they had to withdraw due to the Coronavirus.
Lionel Scaloni’s began slowly with a 1-1 draw before picking things up in the second match with a 1-0 against Uruguay. They secured a 1-0 win against Paraguay to qualify for the knockouts before trouncing Bolivia 4-1.
Messi inspired Argentina with a goal and two assists to defeat Ecuador 3-0.
Selecao are the bookmakers’ favourite to win the competition. Indeed, they have looked and played the part.
The 2019 champions finished the group with three wins from four matches. They have the best scoring record at this tournament with 10 goals.
Tite’s men will be fresh and fit for this one with key players rested for the game against Ecuador.
They needed penalties to eliminate Colombia in the semi-finals with goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez saving three penalties.
What To Expect
Brazil is the favourite for the Copa America trophy based on the quality of the team.
They will be keen to defend the title they won in 2019. Tite will be counting of his resolute defence, led by Thiago Silva.
Neymar will also be tasked with the responsibilities of creating and scoring chances. Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus is suspended for the final.
The Selecao will look to threaten Argentina’s vulnerable defence.
Lionel Messi has inspired the team to this stage with four goals and five assists. The Barcelona forward will have to lead by example once again.
Leandro Parades will need to be at his best in midfield to intercept and retrieve possession.
This generation of Argentine players is getting aged. It is now or never!
This is a very close game to call. The team that takes its chances will most likely win.