A goal by the winger on an assist from De Paul decides the final: for Leo it is the first great trophy with the Argentina shirt. Neymar in the shade
The most anticipated and sweaty triumph, the one that breaks a 28-year fast for an entire people and that finally consecrates (also) the greatest player in the world to the national team: Argentina champion of South America and Messi finally triumphant even with the albicelesti colors. After 14 years of attempts, the Pulce settles the unfinished account with destiny by taking that escaped Cup three times one step away from the finish line (in 2007, 2015 and 2016). He does it right at Maracana, where he swallowed the most bitter bite of his career, the world final lost in 2014 against Germany. This time, against the historical rivals of a lifetime, Argentina frees the scream of joy thanks to a jewel by Di Maria in the first half. Enough for the Albiceleste to get their hands on his 15th America’s Cup (equaled the primacy of Uruguay) and stop the Brazilian unbeaten run at the Maracana that had lasted since 1998.
No news in the initial eleven verdooro compared to the forecasts of the eve, with Lodi for the bruised Alex Sandro and the confirmations of Paquetà and Everton. The surprises instead gives her Scaloni, who, in addition to risking the relaunch of Romero in the center of the defense despite the precarious conditions of the Atalantino, presents four other variations compared to the formation that passed Colombia in the semifinals: Montiel for Molina, Acuna for Tagliafico, Paredes for Rodriguez and Di Maria for Gonzalez. Hazards that soon proved to be spot on, especially in the case of the “Fideo”, a real weapon in the first 45 ‘well beyond the amazing goal with which he unlocked the result in the 21st minute. It is on his side that the Albiceleste sinks more frequently, exploiting their speed, constant thrust and the ability to systematically take the time to a Lodi not without responsibility for the goal.
Barrel and magic
Brazil and Argentina start at a slow pace, they study each other and above all if they give them a good reason, at least in the first 30 ‘. Many fouls over which the referee flies too lightly and the game is inevitably fragmented. The Seleçao tries timidly by banging its nose against the compact rear line of Scaloni led by Romero and Otamendi, authors of a performance without the slightest flaw. Argentina responded by exploiting the spaces granted above all in the right lane and hit on the first attempt, at 21 ‘: De Paul’s precise 40-meter throw for Di Maria, left-footed control and a soft lob that left Ederson no way out. It is the first ray of light of the evening, the one that gives confidence and enthusiasm to an Argentina that legitimizes the advantage with two other insidious conclusions by Messi and Di Maria. For the hosts, on the contrary, only an unrealistic and harmless right-foot from Casemiro in the first 45 ‘. In the second half Tite immediately inserts Firmino and Vinicius for Fred and Everton and the Albiceleste defense is called to overtime. The number one danger for Argentina becomes Richarlison, who easily breaks through the parts of Acuna, creating two big opportunities in partnership with Paquetà. On the first, at 53 ‘, the goal canceled in the Var room for offside of the same Richarlison, who at 55’ commits Martinez at the near post. In the meantime, the Albiceleste closes like a hedgehog passing to the five-man defense. The choice to erect the barricades rewards Seleccion, entrenched in the last quarter of an hour against a Brazil with five forwards to no avail. Among the best in the field, along with Di Maria, the “Italians” Romero and De Paul.
Fifth face to face between the two champions, but the first that was worth a title. Beyond the final joy, in the comparison from a distance, Messi wins despite not shining as usual. La Pulce fails to increase his personal tally by 4 goals and 5 assists, which still earned him the title of top scorer (in cohabitation with the Colombian Diaz), but puts the chills on Ederson with a left-footed left in the 32nd minute as well as opening constantly spaces for Lautaro and Di Maria. Little by his standards, also considered a gross error face to face with Ederson just minutes from the final whistle. But Neymar does even less, sucked into the thick meshes of the Argentine defense without ever being able to find the right space or the play to effect. From him only a throttled right at 12 ‘after a good bank from Richarlison and a badly kicked free-kick on the barrier, then a lot of nervousness, protests and squabbles, the consequence of a clearly subdued evening.
Choruses and cunning
Partial reopening to the public for the occasion, but not everything went well: with a total of about 7,000 spectators admitted to the stands of the Maracana, a few dozen people showed up at the turnstiles showing fake vaccination certificates to get the green light at the entrance. The alarm was raised a few hours before kick-off by the laboratory in charge of swab analysis, all while gatherings grew in front of the plant gates. The crowd ended with the invasion of the entrance reserved for about a thousand invited fans including authorities, sponsors and relatives of family members. On the other hand, an unusually relaxed and serene climate between the two fans, who sang choruses and songs without creating disturbances even when they were a few meters away during the collection of tickets at the box office.
July 11, 2021 (change July 11, 2021 | 06:32)
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