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- Brazil are unbeaten on home turf for seven years and have not lost a home Copa America tie since 1975.
- Argentina extended their unbeaten run to 19 games in the semi-finals.
- Brazil have won in the last six direct elimination matches and Argentina have not beaten their rivals in a competitive match since 2005.
South American icons clash in superb Superclasico
The 2021 Copa America Final will be the South American Superclasico that all the neutrals wanted as Argentina take on Brazil in their own backyard on Sunday morning.
Argentina have played in four of the last six finals – and lost in all four – but Lionel Scaloni’s men have the momentum of a 19-game unbeaten run coming into this.
Brazil have not tasted defeat in their last 13 games, keeping clean sheets in ten of those, while coach Tite is yet to lose a match in two editions of the world’s oldest international tournament.
This mouthwatering clash of the continent’s two greatest rivals will feature two iconic stars and former teammates – Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Messi is striving to win his first senior silverware with the Albiceleste, having failed to get his nation over the line in three previous Copa America finals and the 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil.
The match, back at the Maracanã, will be his seventh final in Argentina colours with his only winning turns coming at the 2008 Olympics and the 2005 Under-20s World Cup.
La Pulga Atomica has shown no signs of age or being affected by any uncertainty over his club career this past month as he has been directly involved in nine out of the 11 goals (four goals and five assists) La Albiceleste have scored.
Neymar watched Brazil’s 2019 triumph from the stands, but has been the hosts’ greatest attacking influence in this edition with two goals and four assists (counting his pass for Lucas Paquetá’s quarter-final goal against Chile which took a deflection) in five matches.
Brazil striker banned but Messi cleared to play
Brazil must again do without the services of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, whose automatic one-match ban for a karate-style kick in the quarter-final was doubled by the Disciplinary Commission of Conmebol.
Paquetá has cemented his place in the team with winning goals in both knockout games and will start in an unchanged attack alongside Neymar – who has never lost at the Maracanã – Richarlison and Everton Soares.
Reports from the Argentina camp claim Messi will be able to play ‘without problems’, despite receiving a hard rap on his ankle in the semi-final that caused ‘heavy trauma’.
Defender Cristian Romero, who has missed the last three games due to injury, is doubtful again so Germán Pezzella and Nicolás Otamendi may continue as Scaloni’s central partnership.
Winger Nico González retains the confidence of his coach, despite some below-par recent displays and the clamour to start Angel Di Maria instead.
Midfield tussle key to Maracanã match
The Samba stars have plenty going for them here: home advantage, an extra day’s rest and a psychological edge from past victories – but we cannot ignore the building momentum behind La Albiceleste.
Argentina’s midfield looks more than a match for Brazil’s engine room, which could be outnumbered, so our expectation is for the game to finish level after 90 minutes.
Argentina have been shut out only once in the last 19 games so, despite Brazil’s great defensive record, we are taking both teams to score as our main bet here.
And don’t forget that Scaloni’s men hit the woodwork twice in their 2-0 Copa semi-final defeat to Brazil two years ago.
La Albiceleste have taken the lead in all six of their Copa games and produced the opener inside the first 15 minutes in four of them so we reckon it’s also worth a wager on leading scorer Messi to break the deadlock in Sunday’s showpiece.
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- 13 Aug
- 13 Aug