Lionel Messi won his first trophy with his national team as Angel Di Maria’s goal gave Argentina a 1-0 win over hosts Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday. The victory at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium ended Argentina’s 28-year wait for a major trophy, and ended Brazil’s unbeaten home record that stretched back more than 2,500 days.
When the match ended, a tearful Messi was thrown into the air by some of his joyous teammates. Argentina’s winning goal at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro came in the 22nd minute after Rodrigo de Paul made a long pass to Ángel di Maria. The 33-year-old veteran striker counted on some sloppy defending from left-back Renan Lodi to take control and lob it past goalkeeper Ederson.
It was only the third goal Brazil conceded in the tournament. Neymar tried hard with dribbles and passes, but the Selecao barely threatened Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. The team of coach Tite had won its previous five matches in the Copa America and scored goals in all of them.
Messi’s performance in the final was not as impressive as in previous matches of the tournament, during which he scored four goals and had five assists. He had a clear opportunity in the 88th minute, tried to dribble Ederson, but the Brazilian goalkeeper stopped him.
The title, however, provides the superstar some relief after all the questions throughout his career on his effectiveness playing for the national team.