COPA AMERICA 2021 FINAL PREVIEW: BRAZIL VS ARGENTINA, GIANTS CLASH FOR SOUTH AMERICAN CROWN

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14 years since their last meeting in a Copa America final, Brazil are set to face Argentina in the final of the 2021 Copa America, in a clash of the titans on Saturday at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

 

 

The Selecao come into this game after an unbeaten run in the group stage which they had continued into the knockout stage as well. After their free-flowing play in the opening matches, Brazil have shown grit and determination to their game in the two 1-0 wins against Chile and Peru, in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, respectively.

 

 

In the last twelve games that Brazil played in 2020 and 2021, they have gone to will eleven of them and kept clean sheets in nine of those matches and will hope to continue the same on Saturday.

Similar to Brazil, Argentina have reached the final having gone unbeaten in the group stage with an identical record of three wins and a draw but had to enter the final through a penalty shootout in the semi-final against Colombia, which inadvertently gives them an advantage if the final goes to a penalty shootout as the Brazilians haven’t experienced it this campaign.

 

 

The last time these two sides have faced together was in a friendly in November 2019, where Argentina had won 1-0, while competitively Brazil have the upper hand after their 2-0 win over the Albiceleste in the semi-final of the 2019 Copa America.

 

TEAM NEWS

Along with Atletico Madrid’s Felipe, who is out of the tournament after spraining his knee, Juventus left-back Alex Sandro looks like a doubt for the final after not featuring in both knockout games owing to a thigh injury. Renan Lodi has performed well in his absence, it is certain that the Atletico left-back will keep his place in the starting line-up.

 

brazil-jesusGabriel Jesus will miss the second game in a row after it was announced that he is set to serve a two-match suspension for the red card received in the quarterfinal. (Image Courtesy: Al Jazeera / Website)

 

Gabriel Jesus is set to miss the game on Saturday after CONMEBOL had announced that the Brazilian striker will serve a two-match suspension after his red card challenge in the quarterfinal against Chile.

Brazil Probable Starting Line-up: Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Silva, Lodi; Casemiro, Fred; Everton Soares, Paqueta, Richarlison; Neymar

 

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni is still likey to be without Atalanta centre back Cristian Romero who wasn’t even on the bench for the semifinal against Colombia.

He will be more than happy that he will have a full squad available apart from Romero in their bid to achieve their 15th Copa America title and equal Uruguay’s all-time record of the most number of Copa America titles.

 

argentina-scaloniLionel Scaloni, manager of Argentina. (Image Courtesy: FIFA / Website)

After an impressive performance against Colombia in the semi-final, Scaloni most probably will go into the final with the same line-up that featured on Tuesday.

Argentian Probable Starting Line-up: Martinez; Molina, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Rodriguez, De Paul, Lo Celso; Messi, L. Martinez, Gonzalez

 

GAME CHANGERS

NEYMAR

As seen in the previous group stage games, most of the Brazilian attacks have to go through Neymar, and that is not a surprise at all. The Paris Saint-Germain forward is one of the best players in the world and can break open defence at will with his silky footwork and goalscoring abilities.

 

 

With two goals and three assists in the campaign, Brazil’s talisman is in superb form and Tite will hope that he continues to do the same, while also expecting the continuation of the support offered by his fellow attackers Lucas Paqueta, Richarlison, and Gabriel Jesus.

 

LIONEL MESSI

This tournament might well be Lionel Messi’s last chance at winning a Copa America title and the mercurial forward will look to pounce upon every opportunity that arises in the game against Brazil and has been unstoppable in the tournament.

 

argentina-messiMessi will Scaloni’s most important weapon in the final against Brazil. (Image Courtesy: Selección Argentina / Twitter)

 

The mercurial magician is topping the charts in both goals and assists, four and five, respectively, and will be Scaloni’s primary weapon in opening up a resolute Brazilian defence. Striker Lautaro Martinez also has had a tremendous Copa campaign and the manager will hope that the Inter Milan striker continuous his rich goalscoring form.

 

PREDICTION

With both squads having filled with a plethora of talent and having a near-identical run into the final, it is difficult to pick a winner out of the blue and proclaim them as the champions of the 2021 Copa America.

Brazil will want their attacking superstars to finish the job, while also banking on their resolute defence while Argentina will depend on the magic of arguably the best player in the world, hence, FootTheBall says, Brazil 1-1 Argentina, Brazil win on penalties.

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