The 2021 Copa America Final is today! This edition of the tournament has been a fun affair amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 Pandemic. 10 nations competed at the start of this tournament, now it’s down to the final two. Argentina and Brazil renew their historic rivalry with the chance of winning South America’s coveted prize!
2021 Copa America Final
This final pits the top two national teams from South America against one another. Argentina has long been a powerhouse, but in the shadow of Brazil over the years. Brazil is always thought of as one of, if not the best team in the world. Their flair and passion for the beautiful game drive them. When these two nations meet, South American supremacy is on the line! Before we get into all that, we need to have a look back at how these nations got here.
A look back at the Semis
Before we knew Argentina and Brazil would play each other in the final, we saw two very evenly contested games in the Semis. Brazil took on and beat Peru 1-0; Argentina drew Colombia 1-1 but would go on to beat them in a penalty shootout. Here’s a look back at both of those matches.
Brazil Vs. Peru
In the first semi-final of the tournament, Brazil came out victorious by a scoreline of one to zero. Brazil had a plethora of chances throughout the match particularly in the first half but was only able to put one away courtesy of Lucas Paqueta who scored his second goal in as many matches in the 35th minute. The game was fairly dull in the second half with Brazil absorbing pressure when needed and holding possession when they got the ball. Brazil is once again the powerhouse everyone expects them to be and they feel as though the final will be theirs, and based on results and performances, it is hard to argue with that sentiment.
Argentina Vs. Colombia
An unbelievable match from start to finish, this battle was entertaining whether you were a fan or a neutral. Argentina took an early lead with a Lautaro Martinez goal in the seventh minute which is his third straight game with a goal. It was assisted by who else but Leo Messi which raises his tally to five assists and four goals for the tournament so far. Colombia didn’t quit there though. They came at Argentina for the next 54 minutes with attack after attack. This led to an extremely open game where each team would counter one another creating an extremely entertaining spectacle. In the 61st minute, Colombia drew even with a phenomenal individual effort by Luis Diaz. The goal sparked even more chances for both sides unfortunately culminating in just that, chances. However, we were then privy to one of the most entertaining penalty shootouts that I can remember. Emi Martinez, Argentina’s goalkeeper, was the king of the night getting in the head of three Colombian kick takers and saving their spot-kicks. Shootouts have always been a rough subject for Argentina in their recent history, but this win could be the catalyst for Messi’s first trophy with Argentina.
Now onto the final!
Both games were exciting but now we move to the most ideal final you could hope for. Argentina vs Brazil, Messi vs Neymar, the two most storied national teams in South America will face off on Saturday, July 10, at 8:00 pm EST (the game actually is set to start at 8:00 pm EST, don’t be fooled by the promos that say 7:00 pm EST) on FS1. Who will win this epic contest of South American giants?
Argentina’s case: why they will win
Argentina can win this match because they have the greatest player in the competition and maybe still the world, in Leo Messi. Messi has four goals and five assists in this tournament and has shown the fiery spirit that many still want from the aging superstar. This could be Messi’s last chance to win an international title, and he’s so close to securing it. This GOAT caliber player is pulling his team towards the championship of South America and his team isn’t shabby either.
On their Copa America run, Argentina has only allowed three goals past them this tournament. Their surprising stout defensively and move forward in the attack ruthlessly, scoring 11 goals. This team is good and can take it to Brazil, but as always the key factor will be Messi’s ability to create and score, as he’s only not contributed to two of Argentina’s goals this tournament.
Why root for Argentina? Because it’s Leo Messi’s chance to finally win one with his national team over their heated rivals!
Brazil’s case: why they will win
Brazil has been the best and most consistent team in the 2021 Copa America. They have scored 12 goals and conceded only two this tournament. The Brazilians have moved past their Conmebol competition with ease, not only at this Copa America but in World Cup qualifying too. In their last 12 matches, Brazil has 11 wins and one draw. The lone draw came in their final group stage match of this Copa America when they had already qualified for the knockouts so they rotated their squad heavily. Since last October, Brazil has a goal differential of +24; this team is a powerhouse and could easily shut down the likes of a great Argentina side.
Brazil is led by Neymar and a plethora of other great players who play in the biggest clubs around the world. The fascinating thing about Brazil is how the egos of these star players play second fiddle to their production on the field. When Brazil plays, you see an expressed team style. It’s not 11 individuals playing on the pitch, it’s one Brazil.
So why root for Brazil? Because they are essentially an all-star team that comes together and smacks around their opposition while playing beautiful football in attack and devastating defense. Also, you’re probably Brazilian or a Cristiano Ronaldo fan if you’re rooting for Brazil.
Don’t miss the epic 2021 Copa America Final
The final is tonight, Saturday, July 10 at 8:00 pm EST (the game actually is set to start at 8:00 pm EST, don’t be fooled by the promos that say 7:00 pm EST) on FS1. Who will be crowned champions and who will feel the sting of a defeat in a final? Watch and see, and then come back to Philly Sports Network for a recap of all the action!
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Mandatory Credit: Copa America via Twitter & Conmebol