It’s Brazil. It’s Argentina. It’s arguably theand it takes center stage Saturday night at the storied Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro to settle this summer’s Copa America final. For Brazil, Tite’s squad will look to defend the crown after winning it all at home in 2019 without Neymar.
A win for Argentina means they’d etch their name on the trophy for the 15th time in the history of the competition, which would match Uruguay for most Copa Americas (Brazil sits with nine). But, actually, what’s more at stake is their first major international trophy at the senior level since the 1993 Copa America. What’s more is that Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player to put on an Argentina shirt, has never won a trophy for his nation at the senior level. This might be the very last time the 34-year-old plays a final and has a chance to win a title for Argentina.
Much like Messi, Neymar has yet to lift the Copa America trophy for Brazil given his injury absence two years ago. Something’s got to give on Saturday.
Let’s get to our predictions for what should be a fantastic final:
Brazil vs. Argentina
Date: Saturday, July 10 | Time: 8 p.m. ET | Live stream:
Echegaray’s take: Brazil’s overwhelming superiority in South America has been here for years, and it has been evident, ever since the World Cup qualifiers for Russia under coach Tite. In this tournament, guided by their star Neymar Jr,, they haven’t been perfect but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching the final with relative ease, only conceding two goals. Argentina are on a mission, and Lionel Messi has been outstanding, clearly the best player in the tournament. They will want to win this for him, the nation and of course, Diego Maradona. But the Seleção will do everything in their power to make sure this doesn’t happen on home soil. This one has a lot of bookings, maybe a sending off, and it will conclude in ET. Brazil, who are much deeper, might be too much for Albiceleste. I want this to be Messi’s night but I am just not so sure. Pick: Brazil 2, Argentina 1 (a.e.t.)
Johnson’s take: It feels like this might well be the year that Messi ends his title drought at international level. Despite Neymar’s best efforts, Emi Martinez will help the legendary Argentine to Copa America glory. Pick: Brazil 1, Argentina 2 (a.e.t.)
Benge’s take: If we’ve learned anything from this tournament it’s assume Lionel Messi will score and assist. Equally the sheer firepower of Tite’s side will probably keep them firmly in a contest that is going to be the more thrilling of the two finals. I can’t convincingly split these two and it might just take penalties to do so. In which case, why not give over to the romantic notion that at last this is Messi’s moment on the international stage? Pick: Brazil 2, Argentina 2 (Argentina win on penalties)
Gonzalez’s take: I really think Argentina can pull this off, especially if Cristian Romero plays. But Brazil will no doubt get their chances, and if they can be a bit sharper in front of goal than they have been lately, they’ll be repeat champions with Neymar leading the way. Pick: Brazil 2, Argentina 1
Thanks for checking us out, and good luck with your picks!