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South America’s biggest finale did not disappoint as Brazil took on Argentina in the finals of Copa America 2021. It was the moment for Lionel Messi to win his first-ever major international trophy with his nation. The game ended with Argentina 1-0 Brazil.



Messi finally wins a final with his national team, earning him a spot among the greatest names in World Football. The legend has done what Maradona and Pele have failed to do and has shut the mouths of critics. It seems like he has finally broken the curse.

Argentina deserved the win on the day as they prevented Brazil from playing the sort of free-flowing football we saw from the hosts. A disappointing finale to a prosperous campaign for the host nation.

FootTheBall takes a look at five things that we learned from this match.


This was the first time that the hosts were tested in the tournament. No team was capable enough to take the front foot against Brazil in this campaign. Selecao has too much quality throughout the field that almost everyone is adept with their feet, including goalkeeper Ederson. Argentina was the first team to pressure the Brazilian players, fighting hard to win the ball back in midfield.



Brazil struggled to maintain any sort of attacking presence throughout the first half. The Argentine players were hard in their tackles and were hungry to win the ball back. Each team lost possession over 50 times in the first half alone. The early goal by Angel Di Maria helped further Argentina’s cause as they started to sit further deep, unsettling the Brazilian players whenever they ventured forward.

There’s no doubt that Brazil had the better XI on the field, but Argentina played to their strengths and did not allow their opposition to click into gear. Rodrigo de Pau and Leanardo Paredes swept up any ball that ventured into the midfield. There was too much pressure when Brazil tried to maintain possession upfront and too many bodies to get past when they did have the time to cross it in.


The emphasis on the Messi, Neymar rivalry was paramount to the build-up to the match. Both teams knew who the best player in the opposition team was and they were given adequate treatment. Messi was harried and bullied every time they got the ball. He was denied any space or time to make an impact. Brazil’s main defensive marker was to deny the Argentinian legend from creating any big changes in the game. Brazil’s only success was denying Messi, the rest of their gameplan was literally void, failing to do anything else throughout the ninety.



Neymar received similar treatment from his opposition defence as well. Every time the Brazilian No.10 started his darting run, at least four in blue and white would swarm the player. At least three players received a yellow trying to stop the trickster. Neymar was the best player for Brazil, earning fouls and creating chances for the men in Yellow and Blue. Argentina showed no mercy as they lunged into tackles every time Neymar was on the ball.


They were the competition favourites by a huge margin. To say that Argentina were the underdogs with Messi on their side would be rather ambiguous but it was true. Brazil’s quality over the field was much greater than what the Argentinians had to offer. However, on the day, Brazil was poor on and off the ball. They did not deserve to win the match, a lacklustre performance from the hosts.



Apart from an outstanding performance by Neymar, everyone else in Yellow and Blue was below par. The overall passing from the Brazilians was surprisingly poor. There were too many rookie mistakes from the experienced side and it was disappointing to watch them in action. A lone goal finally decided the game and Brazil’s attack did not do enough to contest the scoreline.


Many would argue that an international trophy was all that was missing from the crowded cabinet in Messi’s collection. After several unfortunate final losses, this was one Messi simply could not afford to lose. Supporters around the world shed tears, this time, tears of joy as Messi finally lifted his first senior trophy with Argentina. Lionel Messi lifted the Best Player and Top Scorer awards of the tournament for his inspiring performances throughout the campaign.



For the majority, an international trophy was all that was lacking to crown Messi as the greatest player in the history of the sport. The icon has been phenomenal throughout the competition and has truly deserved all the praise coming his way. Although he missed a big chance in the game and failed to impact in the way he was expected to, there is no doubt that he deserves this trophy. All the Argentinian players ran to their captain in celebration as the final whistle blew, showing the desire of the entire camp towards Messi’s success. He was the driving force behind the team, the instigator that carried them to the finals. Finally, is it time to crown Messi as the G.O.A.T?


Going into the finals Brazil were the favourite to lift the trophy. Selecao breezed through each stage in the campaign and had formed a defensive wall. Although there were many supporting Argentina, to finally see Messi lift a trophy with his country, Brazil was expected to defend the title.



However, in what was a rather disappointing performance from both teams, La Albiceleste lifted the crown for the 15th time. The headlines will feature Messi’s success but every player in Argentina deserved the win. They chipped in a final performance, shutting down any sort of threat from the Brazil camp.


Although Angel di Maria scored the decisive goal to secure the trophy for Argentina, Rodrigo De Paul was the standout player from the side. Working tirelessly in midfield to win the ball back and instigating the attack from midfield, De Paul shut down any danger in midfield.



He was responsible for creating the first goal, spotting the run of Di Maria, and putting a long ball above the Brazilian line to open up the game. A standout performance from midfield by the player, stopping any threat in midfield before it even made it to the defensive line of his team.

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