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Lionel Messi finally ended his wait for an international trophy as Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America final, thanks to Angel di Maria's brilliant goal.
#CopaAmérica :trophy:- Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 11, 2021
¡FINAL DEL PARTIDO! @Argentina venció 1-0 a Brasil con gol de Ángel Di María
FIM DO JOGO! Argentina venceu por 1-0 do @cbf_futebol com gol de Ángel Di María
:flag_ar: Argentina :vs: Brasil :flag_br:#VibraElContinente #VibraOContinente pic.twitter.com/v1VF5parZ8
For all Messi has done in his career, the 34-year-old was still without any honours with his national team, having lost in seven previous finals.
Saturday night brought his latest attempt, and what many felt might be his final one, as Argentina faced huge rivals Brazil in the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
The match was hardly a classic but Messi and Argentina hardly cared as the final whistle brought jubilation and the end of a trophyless run since 1993 for the two time World Cup winners.
Unsurprisingly the match between South America's two football super powers started off in niggly fashion with both sides committing plenty of fouls from the off.
Manchester United midfielder Fred managed to pick up yellow card in the first three minutes and there were 13 fouls in the opening 21 minutes of the game.
In the 22nd minute of the game Di Maria opened the scoring with a quality of goal that was more befitting of the skill of the players on the pitch than the stop-start nature of the game to that point.
Rodrigo de Paul played a perfect long ball to find the run of the PSG forward, who took one touch and then lofted the ball over oncoming goalkeeper Ederson to make it 1-0.
The fouling did continue as the teams managed to share 21 one of them before the half time whistle, as the two rivals didn't show their true quality.
At the end of the break Brazil boss Tite made a very attacking change, taking Fred off and replacing him with Roberto Firmino.
It had some effect as the hosts had their best moment of the game in the 52nd minute when Richarlison put the ball in the back of the net, but he was immediately flagged offside.
The Everton forward forced a save from Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez two minutes later, as the holders had their best period of the game.
More fouls and yellow cards followed throughout the second half and Tite once again showed his intent by sending on Gabriel Barbosa for Lucas Paqueta.
Villa keeper Martinez kept Barbosa out from a free kick in the 86th minute, which may have been the decisive moment of the game.
Just a minute later and it looked like Messi would make Brazil pay and secure the title for his country, after losing three previous Copa America finals.
De Paul played a perfect ball through for the Barcelona forward, leaving him one-on-one with Ederson, but he couldn't take it around the Manchester City number one and the ball got tangled up in his feet before the keeper collected it.
Ederson had to come to the rescue once again in injury time as Atletico Madrid bound De Paul got on the end of Emerson's pass in the box. The City keeper came running out at the midfielder's feet and got the ball away.
Just minutes later the final whistle sounded and all the Argentina players hoisted their captain aloft as he finally ended one of the few arguments against him being the greatest of all time.
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