After 15 years of winning everything in soccer, Lionel Messi finally won the one thing he was missing: a major international tournament
Lionel Messifinally added a major international tournament to his trophy cabinet Saturday.
Argentinabeat Brazil1-0 in the Copa América final in Rio de Janeiro.
- Brazil dominated the match, but a single goal from Argentina's Angel di Maria settled it.
Lionel Messi finally added a major international tournament to his trophy cabinet more than 15 years after making his debut for Argentina.
Messi captained his nation to a 1-0 win over Brazil in the final of the Copa América in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday in the first of a pair of major finals taking place this weekend.
A tense affair that Brazil largely dominated on home turf was settled in the 22nd minute when PSG winger Angel di Maria dinked the ball over Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson following a long ball from midfielder Rodrigo de Paul.
Brazil spent the remaining 68 minutes of the match fruitlessly trying to level the scores, but some good saves from Argentine goalie Emiliano Martinez and some uncharacteristically staunch defending from the Argentine backline kept the score at 1-0.
Late in the game, Messi was slipped through on goal by de Paul to secure the victory for Argentina, but - is something of a rarity for him - fluffed his lines. The free-agent could not get the ball out of his feet, and Ederson pounced to keep the score at 1-0.
The Brazilians ended the match having had 59% of possession to Argentina's 41% and taking 13 shots to Argentina's six.
Regardless, Argentina held on to secure the win, taking home a first Copa América trophy since 1993.
You can see highlights from the game, which was played in front of just a handful of fans, below:
At the final whistle, Messi fell to his knees in both relief and jubilation, having finally won a Copa América at the sixth time of asking.
"The happiness is immense," Messi said after the game, according to a BBC Sport translation.
"I had a lot of confidence in this group that became very strong since the last
He was also named player of the tournament, scoring four goals and grabbed five assists, the most in both categories.
After Saturday's victory, Messi has now won (among other things): 10 Spanish La Liga titles, seven Spanish cups, four Champions Leagues, three club World Cups, six Ballons d'Or for the best player in world football, and the 2021 Copa América.
Victory for Argentina means that the only major tournament that Messi has played in but failed to win is the FIFA World Cup.
He has played in four, making the final in 2014 but never winning the competition. He will likely get one final chance at World Cup glory in Qatar next year.
After Argentina's Copa América triumph to become champions of South America, England takes on Italy later Sunday to find out who is crowned champion of Europe in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley, London.
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