After close to one month of exhilarating soccer matches, the Copa America comes to its end with a third place match and the final.
Despite a rocky start with the tournament changing hosts right before the opening, it has gone on to be a successful tournament with some great moments from both teams and individual players.
The third place kicked off on Friday with Peru and Colombia facing off for a chance to at least earn a medal from this tournament. However, the main event was on Saturday with one of the most anticipated matches in some time with Neymar’s Brazil playing Messi’s Argentina.
Colombia VS Peru
The penultimate match of this edition of the Copa America would have Colombia playing Peru after both teams lost in their previous matches, denying them a chance at the trophy. Colombia came into this match after a penalty shootout loss to Argentina but should have been seen as the favorites for this game. While Peru lost in a rematch of the 2019 Copa final against Brazil, they still felt they had a good chance at getting some silverware.
Peru opened the game as the better of the two sides as they’re attack was clicking and they were able to pull apart the Colombian defense. Colombia was failing to get into the match as the same issue that has plagued them throughout the tournament came back in this game with the lack of a potent attack from their strikers. Peru would get their deserved lead in the last minute of the half as Yoshimar Yotún would finish off a brilliant run from Christian Cueva.
Within the first five minutes, Colombia would tie the game with Juan Cuadrado squeezing in a free kick through the wall to tie the game. This goal would give Colombia the fire they needed as in the 60th minute, Luis Díaz would give Colombia the equalizer but Peru would equalize through Gianluca Lapadula. With the score tied and the last few seconds dwindling down, it was all set up for a hero to win the game with that hero being Díaz who would put a rocket into the top corner to give Colombia the third place medal.
Argentina VS Brazil
What a matchup, not only is it a historic rivalry but a game between two of the sport’s current icons in Messi and Neymar. Argentina has looked incredible all tournament with a great midfield and attack, it truly feels like this is Messi’s best chance to win a trophy for Argentina. Standing in their way is Brazil who are looking like the best team in the world with every position being filled by great players putting in impressive performances.
The first half would begin quite chippy with both teams playing aggressively yielding free kicks and yellow cards. Argentina would grab the lead through Ángel Di María, capitalizing on a mistake by a Brazilian defender to chip Ederson in the Brazilian goal. Brazil was able to get back into the game but couldn’t find the equalizing goal meaning the half ended 1-0 for Argentina.
Brazil came out firing in the second half with Bobby Firmino coming on to bolster the attack but Argentina were unwilling to sit back and just defend. Both teams would get some quality chances with the most glaring example being Messi scuffing a shot in the dying minutes of the game. Argentina would keep their lead and win the game, giving Messi his first international trophy at the senior level.
This edition of Copa America ends with Messi finally getting an international trophy showing his critics that he can win with all his teams. Besides Messi’s accomplishment, this tournament had great performances from little known players such as Luis Díaz. With so much hype being built up over the past few months, this year’s Copa has definitely lived up to the hype.
Featured Image: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters