Argentina won their first international trophy in 28 years, and Italy won it after 53 years in two thrilling finals of the CONMEBOL Copa America and UEFA Euro 2021.
Defeating Brazil in Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro to win the first international trophy seemed like poetic justice for Messi.
After being denied 3 Copa America trophies and 1 World Cup in the finals, it had been a debate for many football fans if Messi could be considered as G. O. A. T. without having an international trophy.
Defeating Brazil on their home ground while being the tournament’s best player and highest scorer, Messi has shown that he and his teammates should, more often than not, work together to win.
Argentina And Team Work
Until Copa America 2021, the Argentine team had ten good footballers and one great footballer on the pitch. This time around, the 11 on the field played like one team.
They were, in every sense of the phrase, ready to give their blood, sweat and tears to win this time. One might wonder how Messi fared in the finals, and that he was nothing too special. On the plus side, he did not need to be, for his teammates had his back and they went to war for those 90 minutes to ensure that they won.
Angel di Maria scored the first goal, and then Argentina had a defensive masterclass with Emiliano Martinez guarding between the sticks.
The added motivation for this team was the fact that it may have been the only chance they had remaining to secure their nation’s best footballer of this generation an international trophy in senior football.
After startling antics of the British Football Team, which included pointing a laser at Denmark’s goalkeeper – Kasper Schmeichel, having two balls on the pitch while the penalty was awarded, and minimal contact for simulation by Raheem Sterling which got awarded the penalty, the entire football fanbase was rooting against Britain, not necessarily for Italy, but whoever was against them in the finals.
From a team that did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup to winning the European Championship, the journey has been an inspirational story. This always proves that a comeback is greater than a setback.
Italy always maintains a rock-solid defence. The upside to that is that they would not lose, but the downside is that they might not even win. Since Roberto Mancini took over in 2018, he reinvented the way Italy played.
He kept the same rock-solid defence of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Francesco Acerbi, thereby maintaining the “Catenaccio”, but also tweaking the midfield to have better control of the game and create attacking chances for Italy.
With all the players firing on all cylinders, Italy had to win the Euro, or it would have been a disappointing time for their unbeaten streak to end.
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