Football fans across the globe will be on cloud nine as Argentina clash with Brazil in a final of Copa America after 14 years. In these tough times, this is nothing short of good news as it will be a mother of all battles to grab the coveted trophy. More than a fight between two footballing powerhouses from South America, this final is also about the duel between Lionel Messi and his ex-Barcelona teammate Neymar. This is something nobody would want to miss for anything in this world.
The PSG star Neymar had already made it clear that he wants the men in blue and white jerseys in the final. Neymar said he wants Argentina in the final encounter as he has many friends in the rival team. The Brazilian striker said, “I want to play Argentina because I have friends there, but in final Brazil wins, heh.” So, the last encounter to be held on Saturday at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro might not have the electrifying setting that befits the gravity of the contest due to the Covid protocols, but it undoubtedly has all the ingredients of a perfect blockbuster.
Argentina and Brazil have played each other in the Copa América before as well, but the former would like to forget those games before they encounter the latter this week. Argentina lost to Brazil two years back in the Copa América. The 2–0 semifinal loss put Argentina in third place, however, it triggered off a 19-match unbeaten streak leading to Saturday’s final. As for the Copa America final in 2007, Brazil defeated Argentina 3-0 in Venezuela, giving the men in yellow jersey their 8th title. So, Argentina would love to break the voodoo this time.
Things have drastically changed this time as Argentina along with Brazil have remained unconquered in Copa America this year. This apart, the final is also special due to the clash between two of the finest No 10s the sport has witnessed, Neymar and Messi. The two have been in good form in the tournament so far, as Neymar has two goals and three assists, and Messi has four goals and four assists. Brazil are defending the title this time and they also have been blessed with home advantage in the tournament. But the kind of form that Messi has displayed in the championship Brazil would do well not to dwell too much on earlier clashes. Hence, Brazil can write of Argentina at their own peril.
Coming to Neymar, he was not there in Brazil’s Copa America victory at home two years back, but he has been instrumental in assisting his national team to pocket the 2013 Confederations Cup and Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. But for Messi, the scenario is totally different. He has had an exceptional time at his club Barcelona but for his national team, Argentina, he has precious little to show. So, he would want his team to lift the cup for the first time after the 1993 Copa America triumph. This makes the finale an event to remember and it does not matter which team has the last laugh as an intriguing and spirited display is in the offing.