By Simon Abaho
Argentina and Brazil tonight clash in the final of the 2021 Copa America tournament.
Lucas Paqueta’s last-four goal against Peru sent defending champions and hosts Brazil into a second successive South American showpiece, where they will meet their greatest rivals in a keenly anticipated contest in Rio de Janeiro.
The Lyon playmaker also netted the winner in the quarter-finals against Chile after Tite’s Selecao had topped Group B with three wins and a draw from their four opening matches.
Looking to stop Brazil from claiming a 10th continental title is an Argentina side that held their nerve in a semi-final penalty shootout against Colombia, with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saving three spot-kicks.
The 14-time champions eased past Ecuador in the last eight thanks to a goal and two assists from captain Lionel Messi and topped Group A ahead of Uruguay.
The world of football will hope that a somewhat disappointing and much-maligned tournament can be lit up by a memorable Superclasico de las Americas showdown that could represent the 34-year-old Messi’s final chance for Copa glory with Argentina.
Date, kick-off time and venue
Argentina vs Brazil in the Copa America Final is scheduled for a 9 pm BRT kick-off on Saturday, July 10, 2021.
The four-hour time difference makes that a 1 am BST start in the early hours of Sunday morning for those wanting to watch in the UK.
The match will take place at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 7,800 fans will be able to attend – 10 percent of the ground’s overall capacity.
Argentina vs Brazil team news
Atalanta centre-back Cristian Romero could still be sidelined for Argentina, while Brazil remain without Gabriel Jesus.
The Manchester City striker was sent off for what can only be described as a woeful karate-style kick on Chile’s Eugenio Mena during the quarter-final tie and subsequently received a two-match suspension and a $5,000 fine from South American football governing body CONMEBOL.
Argentina will be desperate to avenge their controversial semi-final defeat from 2019, while realistically you have to think that this year’s Copa and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar offer the final chances for Messi to win a major tournament in the light blue and white stripes.
It’s a difficult contest to predict that could truly go either way, but we’re backing Brazil to squeeze out a narrow triumph in a tense affair that, much like Sunday’s night’s Euro 2020 Final between England and Italy at Wembley, is likely to be decided by the odd goal.
But how so many would love to see Messi finally achieve success with the Albiceleste – who have not won a major tournament since the 1993 Copa in Ecuador – at the 10th attempt.
Where to watch Argentina vs Brazil:
The 2021 Copa America Final is being shown live on BBC One, with coverage beginning at 12:45 am on Sunday morning.
Live stream: Fans can also watch the action unfold online via the BBC Sport website or BBC iPlayer.
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