Di Maria, holder for the second time only in the Copa, justified his selection by scoring the opening scoring halfway through the first half.
Renan Lodi failed to cut a long ball in front of Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria lobbed the failed Ederson with aplomb.
Brazil put the pressure on in an exciting second half, but even with five forwards on the pitch they couldn’t equalize against an Argentina defense protected by the excellent Rodrigo De Paul.
“We must first congratulate our opponents especially for the first half where they neutralized us,” said Brazilian defender Thiago Silva.
“In the second half there was no competition – only one team tried to play football, the other just wasted time as we knew. That’s no excuse, we didn’t didn’t do what we had to, mainly in the first half. “
Argentina’s victory was a particular triumph for Barcelona forward Messi, who won his first-ever title in a blue and white jersey after more than a decade of club and individual honors.
The Argentinian players surrounded their captain at the final whistle. Goalkeeper Emilian Martinez celebrated what he called a Maracanazo, a remarkable victory at the famous stadium in Rio.
“I am speechless,” he said. “I knew my dream would come true, and where better than the Maracanazo and give the title to the best in the world and make his dream come true.”
Messi finished top scorer in the tournament with four goals and was voted best player along with Neymar.
But he remained silent throughout the game at the Maracana Stadium and unusually missed a golden opportunity to wrap up the game with two minutes remaining.
At the final whistle, Argentinian television declared “Champions of Argentina, champion Lionel Messi! “
The game itself was disappointing, with Argentina being the better team in a wary first half that featured 21 fouls.
However, Brazil were more aggressive in the second half and over time threw more people forward – and at one point five recognized attackers on the pitch.
Richarlison scored an offside goal seven minutes into the second half, then forced Emiliano Martinez to a good save two minutes later.
But as Brazil dug holes forward, opened up and Argentina missed two clear chances to score in the dying moments of the game.
The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they are tied with Uruguay as the first ever winner.
“It’s a really big title,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. “I hope the Argentines can enjoy it. The fans love the team wholeheartedly and I think they identify with this team who never let their guard down.”
Their victory extended their unbeaten streak to 20 under Scaloni and offered Brazil their first competitive loss since losing to Belgium in the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals.
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