Argentina have won the Copa America after a 1-0 win over Brazil at the Maracana Stadium in Rio.
Angel Di Maria scored the only goal of the game with a fine lob in the first half, with most of the game’s best chances thereafter coming in a late flurry during the closing stages. The opening goal, when it came, was simplicity itself: a direct, diagonal pass toward Angel Di Maria, missed entirely by Renan Lodi - and then beautifully lofted over Ederson’s head and into the net from the PSG attacker.
Gabriel did force one smart save from Martinez, who tipped over his fierce half-volley, but the game’s best late chance fell at the other end moments later - but Lionel Messi failed to finish from close range.
In the end, it mattered not at all and served to wind down more precious seconds on the clock, as the resolute Albiceleste continued to cling on until they heard the most anticipated of all final whistles in almost 30 years: the one which signalled their first Copa America triumph since the Gabriel Batistuta-inspired triumph of 1993, and the end of the long wait of Messi to add major international honours to his long line of successes.
Follow live updates, analysis and reaction to the Copa America final below:
Celebration time for Messi and Argentina
The emotion is writ plain on the No10s face and he celebrates with his manager Scaloni, and the rest of the squad, in front of the Argentina fans gathered in one small area of the stadium. It has been a long, long time coming.
Argentina 1-0 Brazil: Di Maria nets the only goal of the game as Albiceleste win their 15th Copa title
ARGENTINA WIN THE COPA AMERICA
It’s all over and they have done it! Argentina 1-0 Brazil, in the Maracana of all places - Messi’s international tournament wait for success is over!
90+4’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Brazil searching for that one final chance to get an equaliser but Argentina remain standing firm.
They are just seconds away from their first Copa win since 1993, a record-equalling 15th title.
90’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Into stoppage time we go and there will be five minutes of it.
Still stunned by that miss from Messi - he had Ederson down on the floor and tried to go around him, but missed his touch and fell to ground himself. Still, Argentina are almost there. Not much Tite or Scaloni can do at this point and it’s all on whether the players can find a way through...or keep up the blockade, depending on your point of view.
89’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Saved by Martinez! A free-kick lands at the left boot of Barbosa and he fizzes his half-volley toward goal - decent tip over from the Argentina goalkeeper.
Two more attempted crosses are cleared and then Messi leads a counter; De Paul plays a scintillating return pass into his captain’s path...and Messi stumbles to the ground with the goal at his mercy. What a chance to finish it.
86’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Worth noting we will have extra time if Brazil find an equaliser - unlike earlier in the tournament where the games went straight to penalties if drawn. So far though, Argentina are doing everything they need to, to keep their rivals at bay. Marquinhos was apparently booked in that earlier skirmish we mentioned, for a rather needless barge.
Into the final few minutes we go!
83’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Great challenge! Gabriel Barbosa is played in down the left channel and has a shooting chance - Pezzella, just on as sub, comes sliding across to make a fantastic block. From the resulting corner, Danilo sends one about 20 yards over the bar.
82’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Here we go, the other kind of kick-off time. Otamendi with a foul on Neymar, he’s booked, Vini Jr then clashes with him and Otamendi goes to ground. About eight players crowd around him including Marquinhos, who sprints 30 yards to get involved in some pointless shoving. Brazil need to keep their heads if they are to fashion a way through.
80’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Gabi goes down in the box but the referee says no foul and looks like Rodriguez has just got away with it. The Brazil striker and Otamendi quickly clash and have a few words, but on we go. Brazil with ten plus stoppage time to sort out their final third productivity.
Triple change for Argentina: Romero off and Pezzella on. Lautaro replaced by Palacios and Di Maria replaced by Nico Gonzalez.
76’ - Argentina 1-0 Brazil
Firmino attempts a through-pass, then Vini Jr tries to dribble down the left. Both breaks are foiled by Argentina’s massed ranks - Tite has had enough and here’s a double change.
Emerson on for Lodi and Gabriel Barbosa on for Pacqueta.
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