Ultimately, Brazil‘s dependence on Neymar was better than Argentina‘s on Lionel Messi. Argentina’s twelfth objective of the match was the primary and just one to not contain Messi — and it was sufficient to convey Messi the primary senior title of his worldwide profession, in addition to Argentina’s first since 1993.
The 1-0 victory within the Copa America closing on Saturday was the fruit of Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni’s willingness to vary a profitable group — or at the least one which had come via a semifinal after a penalty shootout. He modified 5 of the aspect — half of the outfield contingent — from the lineup of Tuesday’s sport towards Colombia. One was routine, with centre-back Cristian Romero returning after harm. Each full-backs had been modified; Scaloni clearly wanting recent legs down the flanks.
And the opposite two altered the construction of the aspect. Probably the most defensive midfielder, Guido Rodriguez, gave method to Leandro Paredes. This might need appeared unusual. However Scaloni determined he didn’t want to begin with Rodriguez as a result of he strengthened the sector. As a substitute of the traditional 4-3-3, Argentina lined up in a 4-4-2. Nicolas Gonzalez on the left wing gave method to Angel Di Maria.
It was a match winner, a title-winning change.
There was a worth to pay. Giovani Lo Celso was pushed wider to the left, farther from Messi. This was the partnership that had persistently received the group off to a quick begin all through the match. There was no quick begin this time. However there was one thing to have fun on the finish, as a result of the considering behind the inclusion of Di Maria proved right. His position was to chop inside, behind left again Renan Lodi, attacking the house of Thiago Silva. It was the place the sport was gained.
Rodrigo De Paul, a powerful candidate for man of the match, gave a protracted diagonal ball for Di Maria to chase. Renan Lodi couldn’t management, and Di Maria was there to beat Ederson with a cute lob. Scaloni was rewarded for making modifications to his group.
Brazil coach Tite may remorse not doing likewise. He despatched out the identical lineup that had overwhelmed Peru on Monday. A few of their issues had been predictable. A key flaw within the objective was the dearth of strain positioned on De Paul in the course of the sector. Brazil have been urgent higher when Eder Militao has featured at centre-back. However Tite caught with Thiago Silva, who has inevitably misplaced a few of his tempo. He tends to remain deeper, and the group breaks up into separate models because of this.
In assault, Tite gained little from winger Everton Soares, who was the breakout star and Golden Boot winner on the 2019 Copa however has not been in high type not too long ago. Brazil’s coach labored time beyond regulation attempting to rebuild his assault throughout the course of the sport. Roberto Firmino got here on on the interval, pushing again the Argentina centre-backs and giving Neymar house to convey Richarlison into the sport, slicing in from the appropriate. It was the closest Brazil got here to a objective, with Richarlison having one strike dominated out for a slender offside and one other well-saved by Emiliano Martinez.
On got here Vinicius Junior to supply some thrust down the left. On got here striker Gabriel Barbosa, who pressured one other good save from Martinez. Argentina withdrew. Messi was left on their own up entrance, although he did have an opportunity to clinch issues towards the top after an outstanding one-two with De Paul, solely to lose management on the important second. De Paul burst via to be stopped by Ederson, however the motion by then was occurring on the different finish.
Argentina got down to cease Neymar any manner they may, truthful means and foul, even queueing as much as attempt to rugby sort out him in desperation. It was a time for cool heads, and Brazil struggled to remain calm. The fouls, the fixed interruptions, the yellow playing cards — all labored in Argentina’s favour.
It was not fairly; it was no basic. However it can stay lengthy within the Argentine reminiscence, particularly within the reminiscences of these followers — 10% of the stadium capability — who had been controversially and chaotically allowed to enter Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
A protracted wait has come to an finish. On the closing whistle, the whole Argentina group ran towards Messi — a graphic illustration of how effectively he’s built-in into the squad. Few will begrudge him his second — and the lengthy embrace between him and Neymar a couple of minutes after the whistle was as memorable as something that occurred on the sector.