On Tuesday, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino scored a goal each and steered Brazil to a 2-0 victory against arch-rivals Argentina and confirmed a spot in the finals of the ongoing Copa America championship for Brazil. The high-intensity match was much anticipated and talked about given the two sides' history and caliber. Argentina played a respectable game sharing 50% possession at full time but to their misfortune, both Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi couldn’t convert their scoring opportunities as their attempts hit the woodwork. The old rivals were locking horns against each other for the first time in a major competition since Brazil beat Argentina 3-0 in the 2007 Copa final.
The defeat meant Barcelona great and greatest of all time - GOAT' (as Ronaldo fans don't like to call him) Lionel Messi’s hopes of lifting a major international title in Argentinian colours were shattered yet again. Messi will hope to redeem this defeat next year; with better luck, skills and a home advantage as the fourth Copa America in the last five years is scheduled to be played in Argentina and Colombia.
Brazil came out all guns blazing at the start of the match as the team looked to make attacking moves within the first ten minutes. Argentina's Nicolas Tagliafico was handed a yellow card in the ninth minute of the match as he made a bad tackle on Brazil's Gabriel Jesus. Brazil finally opened the scoring in the 19th minute of the match as Jesus netted the ball into the goal post. He converted a low cross from Firmino to give Brazil a 1-0 lead. The goal came as Dani Alves did exceptional work as he skipped past two challenges.
Argentina's Messi had a disappointing first thirty minutes of the match as he was not able to really get into. The four-time Champions League winner appeared frustrated at not being able to make any kind of attacking move. Argentina came close to getting an equaliser in the 30th minute, but Sergio Aguero was denied by the woodwork. Messi slipped a cross into Brazil's half and Aguero looped a header towards the net, but it hit the bar and deviated towards a Brazil player.
Brazil's Dani Alves and Argentina's Marcos Acuna were handed yellow cards before half-time. Brazil maintained their cool and they went into the half-time with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, Argentina looked to play with more intent and they built a solid chance in the 52nd minute of the match but they were not able to convert it into the goal. Messi finally came into his own in the 57th minute as he made an exceptional move but his efforts were denied by the goalpost. The forward latched on to a blocked shot from Lautaro Martinez and hammered a left-foot volley towards the net. However, his effort cannoned off the goalpost.
Brazil's Robert Firmino scored in the 71st minute to give the team a 2-0 lead. This goal gave Brazil all the impetus and they clearly gained an upper hand in the match. Firmino produced a brilliant run in Argentina's half. Jesus kept his footing under pressure releasing the ball to Firmino and Firmino did not disappoint as he registered a goal.
Argentina was not able to create any sort of pressure after going 0-2 down, and in the end, Brazil sealed a comfortable victory. Messi, who turned 32 earlier this month has great record and is considered one of the best players in the world but is eluded from winning a major title, the wounds from the past two FIFA World Cups are still fresh wherein 2014 they ended up on second place after an exhilarating 120 minute (90 plus extra time) final and an exit from the round of 16 in 2018.
Watch a funny take on Messi's misfortune here:
Brazil will take on the winner of Chile-Peru match in the finals of the tournament on Sunday, July 7. Argentina will be hoping to finish third after winning the match for the third position that is scheduled for Sunday.