Copa America final preview: Brazil & Argentina set for a titanic showdown at the Maracana

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The iconic Estádio do Maracanã in Rio De Janeiro plays host to the 47th Copa América final in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Brazil will be gunning for a sixth title in ten editions after winning 2019’s showpiece final here against Peru. In their way stands Lionel Messi and 14-time champions Argentina.

The Seleção has won by at least a two-goal margin in four of their last five Copa América final appearances, one of those coming against none other than Argentina in 2007. A repeat of that resounding 3-0 scoreline is unlikely, but it’s a slice of history that will fill Neymar and co. with confidence.

Emiliano Martínez was the hero for Argentina in the semifinal as he saved three of Colombia’s spot-kicks in the shootout, and Albiceleste will now contest their fifth Copa América final in the last seven editions of the tournament. They’ll be desperate to avoid losing five finals on the bounce.

Martínez might be a busy man once more and Argentina faces a daunting task against a Brazil outfit that didn’t concede a single goal in the knockout rounds, with a back four expertly marshalled by Marquinhos and Thiago Silva and protected by Casemiro.

Either way, it’s bound to be feisty as two South American giants slug it out for the continent’s biggest prize.

Brazil vs Argentina: Key stats

Brazil’s one-goal win over Peru in the semifinal came courtesy of Lyon midfielder Lucas Paquetá – both of his goals in this Copa have been decisive openers.

Three-time Copa América runner-up Leo Messi will contest his fifth major final for Albiceleste and leads the Golden Boot race, but still seeks a first trophy win with his country.

Including stoppage time, Copa América finals held this century have averaged 6.57 cards per 90 minutes.

The last time Argentina beat Brazil at the Maracanã was back in April 1998 in front of over 99,000 fans, courtesy of a goal by Claudio Lopez.

Leo Messi has directly contributed to nine (four goals, five assists) of Argentina’s 11 goals scored at Copa América 2021.

Likely XIs

Brazil (4-2-3-1):

Ederson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lodi; Casemiro, Fred; Everton, Lucas Paquetá, Neymar; Richarlison

Argentina (4-3-3):

E. Martínez; Molina, Otamendi, Pezzella, Tagliafico; De Paul, G. Rodríguez, Paredes; Messi, L. Martínez, Di María

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