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FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images.

Copa América Final 2021: A Preview of Brazil vs Argentina

The stage is set at the Copa América final in 2021. Brazil vs Argentina. Neymar vs Messi. Fútbol fans could not have asked for a better ending to this tournament. Will Lionel Messi finally capture the major international trophy that has evaded him or will the Brazilians win their tenth Copa América? Time to take a look at which South American heavyweight will take home the trophy this Saturday.

Both teams enter this final extremely confident after topping their respective groups and emerging victorious in nearly every game they played, and a key matchup will be the Argentinian attack against the stout Brazilian defense. Center backs Marquinhos and Thiago Silva form arguably the best duo in international football, competing only with Bonucci and Chiellini or Maguire and Stones. Couple them with Ederson, one of the most elite goalies in the world, and the Argentinians will have their work cut out for them offensively. Although the white and blue have Lionel Messi in their attack, they will need a great game from Lautaro Martínez, who has found the back of the net in each of the last three games. Martínez’s excellence has kept Sergio Agüero on the sidelines, but fans will get the chance to see Agüero and Messi sharing the field eventually.

The Brazilian attack is as dangerous as ever with Neymar leading the way, but it will be handicapped in the final as forward Gabriel Jesus was handed a two-game suspension in Brazil’s quarter-final matchup against Chile. The team will need more from Everton striker Richarlison as well as Lucas Paqueta, who scored the winner in both of Brazil’s knockout matches after replacing the suspended Jesus. Argentina’s back four has been in flux outside of Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who has had a tremendous tournament, including coming up huge in Argentina’s semi-final victory over Columbia via penalties.

The battle of the two midfields will also be a great one to watch, as Brazil has experienced veterans like Casemiro and Fred who have repeatedly delivered, while Argentina sports an impressive young trio of Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, and Giovani Lo Celso. The midfield that performs better in this match could very well swing the outcome in their team’s favor.

This year’s Copa América final is definitely a difficult one to predict and I am expecting a close game between the two South American giants. Taking into account that there is no extra time in this specific tournament and games head straight to penalties after the 90 minutes, I predict this game will go to penalties with the score at one goal apiece. Although Brazil is the more talented side, anything can happen once a game is in penalties. I will back La Albiceleste to win their 15th Copa América in a penalty shootout and the greatest player of all time, Lionel Messi, to win his first every major international trophy.

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