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Copa America: Lionel Messi and Neymar Share a Moment After Argentina Beat Brazil to Lift the Trophy | WATCH

Lionel Messi embraces Neymar after the Copa America final (Twitter)

Lionel Messi embraces Neymar after the Copa America final (Twitter)

Argentina won their first major title in 28 years and Lionel Messi finally won his first medal in a blue-and-white shirt when Angel Di Maria's goal gave them a 1-0 win over Brazil.

The 28-year-long wait for Argentina was finally over when Angel Di Maria’s first-half strike was enough to trump hosts Brazil to lift the Copa America trophy at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. It was also a special night for their captain Lionel Messi as the 34-year-old finally broke his international trophy duck with Argentina after five tries. This win for the Albiceleste also ended Brazil’s unbeaten home record that stretched back more than 2,500 days.

When the match ended, a tearful Messi was embraced by his former Barcelona teammate and Brazil superstar Neymar.

Neymar and Lionel Messi, who have lifted numerous trophies together in the four years they spent together at Barcelona. So, when the match ended and Neymar finally got the chance to meet Messi, they hugged each other for a long time while both were seen exchanging words.

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Before that, the Argentina captain was lifted lifted in the air three times by his teammates — a celebration that has been often reserved for the managers following the elusive win.

Following the match, Lionel Messi also had a video call from the Maracana Stadium with his family.

Messi finished the tournament’s joint top goalscorer with four goals and was elected joint best player along with Neymar. However, it was a quiet game for him at the Maracana stadium and uncharacteristically missed a golden opportunity to wrap the game up with two minutes remaining.

Earlier, Di Maria, starting for just the second time in the Copa, justified his selection by scoring the opener midway through the first half. Renan Lodi failed to cut out a long ball forward from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria lobbed the stranded Ederson with aplomb.

Brazil piled on the pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they could not get an equaliser against an Argentine defence protected by the outstanding Rodrigo De Paul. Richarlison had a goal chalked off for offside seven minutes into the second half and then forced Emiliano Martinez into a good stop two minutes later.

The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they draw level with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.

Their win extended their sequence of undefeated matches to 20 under Scaloni and handed Brazil their first competitive defeat since they lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

(With Reuters Input)

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first published:July 11, 2021, 09:18 IST