Messi’s Argentina, Neymar’s Brazil meet 14 years on in Copa America final

Brasilia, Jul 6 (EFE).- Argentina will play the Copa America final against Brazil 14 years after the fixture they lost in 2007 at the José Encarnación Romero Stadium in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

After a suffered Tuesday victory over Colombia in a penalty shoot-out following a draw 1-1 in regulation time, Brazilians and Argentines will once again fight for the title Saturday at the Maracana Stadium.

Argentina went ahead at the Mane Garrincha stadium through Lautaro Martínez in the seventh minute but Luis Díaz equalized shortly after the hour mark.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the defining figure, saving three spot kicks. Argentina, who beat Colombia 3-2, has not won an official title for 28 years. The team has 14 Copa America titles and has been a runner-up another 14 times.

The last time the Albiceleste won the cup was in 1993 in Ecuador. Since, it has reached four more finals in 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016.

Lionel Messi will play his seventh final with Argentina, the fifth with the senior team, but so far he has only been victorious at the 2008 Olympics and the 2005 Under-20s World Cup in the Netherlands.

Messi lost his first final at the 2007 Copa América in Venezuela, falling to Brazil, who took their eighth title by winning 3-0 with strikes from Julio Baptista, Roberto Ayala (own goal) and Dani Alves.

In 2014 Messi led the Albiceleste in the World Cup against Germany, who won the title.

The following year, Argentina lost the Copa América final to hosts Chile, who won on penalties.

The Copa America of the United States in 2016 saw a deja vu: again Chile, again penalties, again a defeat for Messi’s side.

This year, Argentina has reached the final after drawing with Chile and defeating Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia in the group stage, finishing first. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Ecuador 3-0.

Some 59 goals have been scored in the competition so far, for an average of 2.26, with Messi leading the scorers’ ranking with four goals and five assists. EFE


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