The Day – Argentina qualify on penalties for Copa final against Brazil


Brasilia, Brazil – It will be Lionel Messi’s Argentina against Neymar’s Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday at the historic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Argentina won their semi-final against Colombia 3-2 on penalties after three saves by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Regulation time ended 1-1 at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia on Tuesday.

“Dibu is a phenomenon. We trusted him, “Messi said after the game, referring to Martinez’s nickname.” It was a goal to play every game and now we are going to try to win this final. “

Argentina haven’t won a major title since 1993 when they won the Copa America. On this occasion, the team eliminated Colombia on penalties 6-5 in the semi-finals after a goalless draw.

Brazil beat Peru 1-0 on Monday to advance to the final. La Seleçao have never lost a Copa America final at home and have won five of the six matches so far. Neymar said after the semi-final that he wanted to meet his Barcelona mentor Messi in the decisive game.

“We’re both in the final, I know Neymar said it because we’re friends and he wanted me to be there too,” Messi said. “It will surely be very close and difficult. We are aiming high, we managed to get the first objective to play the final, to play all the matches. Now we are aiming higher than ever, we are going to seek this Copa.”

It only took Argentina seven minutes to open the scoring. Rodrigo de Paul found Messi in the penalty area with a through pass. The star got his fifth assist in the tournament with an assist to Lautaro Martinez, who placed the ball in the right corner in front of Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.

A more aggressive Colombia, led by Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, hit the bar and post in the first half before leveling in the 61st minute with Luis Diaz, who received the ball to the left of Argentina’s penalty area with almost no angle to beat Martinez.

Argentina reacted after 67 minutes when Ángel di María entered the match, replacing Nico González. The winger created several opportunities, including one in the 80th minute that ended with Davinson Sanchez saving a Lautaro Martinez finish on the goal line.

The last big opportunity in regulation time came when Messi hit Ospina’s right post in the 81st minute from close range.

Martinez rescued shots from Sanchez, Yerry Mina, and Edwin Cardona in the shooting. Messi converted his opportunity on the spot and was one of the happiest players in the celebrations. He is seeking his first major title with Argentina against the favorites of Brazil.

Rodrigo de Paul missed his shot, but Leandro Paredes and Lautaro Martinez scored their chances for Argentina in the shootout. Cuadrado and Miguel Borja scored on the spot for Colombia.

In tears, Martinez said after the game that he wanted to face the Brazilians in the final at the Maracana Stadium.

“It’s a matter of luck, today it was mine. Brazil are a great team, the favorite, “Martinez said.” But we have a great coach, we have the best player in the world and we will try to win him, “he said.

“We have nothing to regret,” said Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda. He also reached the semi-final with Chile in 2019 and lost. “Now we have to wait for football to restore our efforts so that we can give the Colombian people a little joy. Another time.”

Argentina and Colombia were the original hosts of the Copa America, which moved to Brazil two weeks before kick-off.

Colombia will play in the third-place match against Peru on Friday.

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