Argentina won its first major title since 1993 and Lionel Messi finally lifted his first major trophy for the national team.
Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in Saturday’s Copa America final to secure their first national team title in 28 years.
The goal for Argentina’s victory at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro came in the 22nd minute after Rodrigo de Paul made a long pass to Angel de Maria.
The 33-year veteran striker relied on some broken-down defense by left-back Renan Lodi to take control and fight in front of goalkeeper Ederson.
It was only the third goal that Brazil conceded in the tournament.
Brazil accumulated pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they were unable to get an equalizer against an Argentine defense backed by the extraordinary Rodrigo De Paul.
Argentina’s victory was a particular triumph for Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who took his first title in a blue and white shirt after more than a dozen club and individual honors.
When the match was over, a tearful Messi was blown up by some of his teammates.
Messi finished the first joint scorer of the tournament with four goals and was elected the best joint player with Neymar. But he was quiet throughout and characteristically missed a golden opportunity to end the game with two minutes left.
When the final whistle was blown, Argentina TV declared “Champion of Argentina, Champion of Lionel Messi!”
The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they look at Uruguay’s level as the all-time winners.
Their victory widened their winning streak to 20 under Lionel Scaloni and gave Brazil their first competitive defeat since losing to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.