All the headlines before and after the game were centered around Lionel Messi. The man who had won just about every single award possible at the club level had somehow gone nine tournaments without winning a title with his national side. It’s not like Argentina are some also-rans in the international game, but yet they have continued to be dependent on Messi to get anywhere in the decade and a half or so he has represented the Albiceleste.
Ironically, Argentina’s 12th goal of the tournament and the one that proved to be the eventual winner against hosts Brazil was also the first one they scored without Messi’s involvement at any point in the start to the finish of the action. On a day he was mostly quiet on a personal contribution level like he has in previous critical finals, this time his supporting casr stepped up with Rodrigo De Paul’s searching ball well-controlled by Angel De Maria who then proceeded to waltz in and chip the ball coolly over the advancing Ederson with about a quarter of the game gone.
Brazil’s reliance on Neymar to drive the ball forward and provide the bulk of their creativity was always going to be their undoing, and with the Argentines using all means fair and foul to ensure the #10 wouldn’t gash them, it was enough to silence the hosts and the 10% capacity crowd at the legendary Maracana.
What. A. Final.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 11, 2021
Relive all the action from Argentina's Copa America win vs Brazil in our 90' in 90" ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/1eFNBL0TF6
Tite has had Richarlison lining up all over the forward line, and in this game he ended up on the right side of the 4-3-3 formation. He had started on the left and did well to head down a long ball into the box that Neymar was unable to control in the early minutes of the game, but gradually disappeared as the battle of attrition in the middle of the pitch took over.
The Everton forward was his usual energetic self, and once he had moved wide right became a more influential figure, especially as Brazil pushed for an equalizer late on. Richy even had the ball in the back of the net in the second half after a battling display in the box, but had unfortunately drifted offside to begin the sequence.
His best chance came a little later with Neymar’s dummy allowing him a clear look at goal, but Aston Villa goalie Emiliano Martinez did well to parry his shot away, and there were no more chances for Richarlison to draw his side level.
Emiliano Martínez comes up with a HUGE save to keep Argentina on top pic.twitter.com/yzqQt2fT8v— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 11, 2021
Richarlison fought long and hard and has finally gotten permission to join the Brazil contingent for the delayed Olympics being held in Tokyo this summer. If Brazil do go all the way there until the final, then it is quite possible the forward will miss just about all of the Everton preseason as well as the first couple of games of the new season as well.