Angel Di Maria’s goal secured Argentina a 1-0 win against hosts Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday, giving Lionel Messi his first international trophy with his national side.
Argentina’s 28-year drought for a major title came to an end with the triumph at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which also ended Brazil’s 2,500-day unbeaten home record.
Argentina last won a major event in 1993, when the legendary Gabriel Batistuta scored a brace in the Copa America final in Ecuador, giving Argentina a 2-1 victory over Mexico.
“It’s a fantastic title, particularly for our people. The fans are unwavering in their support for the squad. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni stated, “I think they can empathise with this team that never gives up.”
It was the first time in six editions that Brazil had failed to win the title while playing at home.
Scaloni made five changes from Brazil’s semi-final triumph over Peru, including bringing in Di Maria, who made an energetic and crucial appearance off the bench against Colombia last time out.
While Messi’s quest is over, Brazil’s Neymar is still without a major international trophy after missing the Selecao’s victory on home soil two years ago due to injury.
Messi had a golden opportunity to seal the victory two minutes from time, but he slipped as he was clear through with just Ederson to beat.
After officials partially lifted pandemic restrictions, the final was the first match of the competition, which was initially scheduled for last year, to allow in supporters, with 7,800 – a tenth of the Maracana capacity — taking their seats.