The Copa América could not have a more advertising poster for soccer than a Brazil-Argentina final in Maracanã. Even the European Championship, expectant for the title that England and Italy will play at Wembley (Sunday, 9:00 p.m., Telecinco), will be hooked on the superclassic that has been held since 1914 (early morning from Saturday to Sunday, 2:00, TV-3). The duel of the Canarinha with the Albiceleste he gives glory and honor to a tournament that has been difficult to follow, play and organize due to covid-19.
The significance of the event explains that the mayor of Rio de Janeiro has exceptionally authorized the presence of 7,200 fans, 10% of the capacity of the stadium in the emblematic city of Brazil. Soccer has not been particularly attractive so far and the figures have been equally scarce, all the more reason to emphasize in the collective duel between Brazilians and Argentines, and also in the individual between Neymar Júnior and Leo Messi.
“I’m going to play the final that I always dreamed of,” says Neymar, after he resisted getting ready for the Cup. And Messi responds: “It’s going to be very tough.” La Canarinha is the host and the champion – it has added nine titles – and its last defeat dates back to November 2019 in a friendly precisely with Argentina, winner of the tournament 14 times, the last one in 1993, and loser by two to one in the balance of the three finals held against Brazil.
Neymar’s team starts as a favorite due to the local condition and the strength given by Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Casemiro. Gabriel Jesus’ absence due to suspension does not alter Tite. The coach has a plan to deny Messi: “I know how to mark him but I’m not going to say it,” announces the coach of the Canarinha. Messi has already had four goals, two from free-kicks and one from a penalty, and plays more liberated and also more committed than ever with the Scaloni team.
He returns to Maracana on the 10th after losing the 2014 World Cup final. Messi stared at the Cup after being proclaimed the best player in the final against Germany. He has also lost three Copa América finals. At 34 years old, the Rosario is trying his best to win a title with Argentina and a Maracanazo would allow him to sign his emotional and soccer bond with the Albiceleste in letters of gold. It seems at last that both have coincided on their way, Messi and Argentina.
La Albiceleste never won a Cup in Maracana and only won two of their 12 visits, so the challenge is enormous for Messi’s team. Neymar smiles and Brazil assumes the pressure: to finish a tournament without blemish they need to knock down Argentina. Europe will not miss the appointment of America.
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