Argentina win its first major title since 1993 and Lionel Messi finally lifts his first major national team trophy.
Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in Saturday’s Copa América final to secure the national team’s first title in 28 years.
Argentina’s winning goal at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro came in the 22nd minute after Rodrigo de Paul made a long pass to Angel di Maria.
The 33-year-old veteran striker counted on some sloppy defense from left-back Renan Lodi to take control and throw past goalkeeper Ederson.
It was only Brazil’s third goal in the tournament.
Brazil stepped up the pressure in a thrilling second half, but even with five strikers on the pitch, they couldn’t equalize against an Argentine defense protected by the excellent Rodrigo De Paul.
Argentina’s victory was a special triumph for Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who took his first-ever title in a blue and white shirt after more than a decade of club and individual honours.
As the match ended, a tearful Messi was tossed into the air by some of his merry teammates.
Messi finished the tournament’s joint top scorer with four goals and was voted the best player along with Neymar. But he was silent the entire time and unusually missed a golden opportunity to finish the game with two minutes to go.
When the final whistle sounded, Argentina TV declared “Argentina Champions, Lionel Messi Champion!”
The win was Argentina’s fifteenth win in the Copa America and puts them on a par with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.
Their win extended their run of unbeaten games to 20 under Lionel Scaloni and gave Brazil their first competitive defeat since losing to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.