Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Neymar’s Brazil are set to clash in what promises to be a blockbuster final of the Copa America on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero as Argentina defeated Colombia on penalties on Tuesday to set up a dream against Brazil. The Aston Villa stopper Martinez saved three penalties in the shoot-out after a bruising 1-1 draw in Brasilia.
Hosts Brazil beat Peru 1-0 in Monday’s first semi-final meaning their star forward Neymar will line up against Messi’s Argentina on Sunday at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
Two years ago a Brazil team missing the injured Neymar knocked out Argentina in the semi-finals before winning their ninth Copa title on home soil.
For Messi, 34, time is running out to win a first major international title with his national team, having previously lost in three Copa finals and the 2014 World Cup final.
Incredibly, these two sides are not even the two most successful ones in Copa history, with Uruguay having won 15 titles to Argentina’s 14 and Brazil’s nine.
In what is the 47th edition of the Copa, this is also just the fourth time these two have met in the final, with Argentina triumphing the first time in 1937 and Brazil coming out on top in 2004 and 2007.
And that is despite having faced each other more than 100 times in their history.
Here’s a look at some of the key stats heading in the Copa America 2021 final:
Leading goal scorers in Copa America 2021
Most clean sheets in Copa America 2021
|Artemio Franchi Trophy||1||0|
Brazil vs Argentina head-to-head record
|Tournament||Mat||Arg win||Draw||Bra win||Arg goals||Bra goals|
|World Cup qualification||8||2||2||4||9||15|
|Superclasico de las Americas||8||3||1||4||5||8|
|Taca do Atlantico||4||0||1||3||2||9|
|Copa ZH 35th Anniversary||2||1||0||1||4||4|
|Copa Roberto Chery||1||0||1||0||3||3|
|Taca das Nacoes||1||1||0||0||3||0|
|Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|Copa Centenario de la AFA||1||0||1||0||1||1|
|Copa 50imo Aniversario de Clarín||1||0||0||1||0||1|
Best Argentina vs Brazil matches in history
Argentina 2-0 Brazil - 1937 Copa America final playoff
The first meeting between the two sides in a Copa America title decider. That time there was no official final as the tournament used a league format. But since Argentina and Brazil had finished level on points a playoff was played to decide the winner.
After goalless ninety minutes, Argentine edged the final in extra time thanks to two goals from Vicente de la Mata in the 102nd and 112th minutes. This was Argentina’s fifth Copa America triumph.
Argentina 1-2 Brazil - 1974 Fifa World Cup Second Group stage
The first of four Brazil-Argentina matches at the Fifa World Cup finals happened during the second group stage in the 1974 Fifa World Cup. Placed in a tough group alongside Netherlands and East Germany, Brazil emerged victorious in this crucial clash as goals from Rivelinho and Jairzinho either side of Brindisi’s goal for Argentina were enough to earn the victory. Brazil though finished second in the group and could only qualify for the third-place playoff which they lost against Poland.
Brazil 0-1 Argentina, 1990 Fifa World Cup, Round of 16
The only knockout game between Brazil and Argentina at the Fifa World Cup final happened in 1990 when defending champions Argentina edged out arch-rivals 1-0 in the pre-quarters. The game was goalless for large parts and seemed to be heading to extra-time when Claudio Paul Cannigia popped up with the winner in the 81st minute.
Argentina reached all the way to the final where they were beaten by West Germany who avenged their loss in the final four years ago.
Argentina 1-1 Brazil (6-5 on penalties), 1993 Copa America quarter-final
The marquee clash came much earlier than expected in the competition as the two arch-rivals met at the quarter-final stage. Brazil took the lead through Muller in the 37th minute before Argentina levelled matters in the 69th minute through Leo Rodriguez. The final eventually went to penalties where both teams scored each of the five penalties before Brazil’s Boiadeiro missed the first penalty in sudden death to send Argentina through. This is the last time Argentina beat Brazil in a major competition.
Argentina went on to win that edition in Ecuador but have failed to lift the continental title since.
Argentina 2-2 Brazil (2-4 on penalties) - 2004 Copa America final
A dramatic final that most Brazil fans like to remember. Argentina took the lead through a Christian Gonzales penalty in the 20th minute before Luisao equalised on the stroke of half-time. With the final set to go to extra-time Cesar Delgado scored what appeared to be a winner in the 87th minute. But Brazil hit back in the fourth minute of stoppage time through Adriano to force extra time.
Eventually, the Brazilians won on penalties to win their seventh title.
Argentina 4-3 Brazil, 2012 International Friendly
With stakes always high, very few Brazil-Argentina games have been goal fests. However, this friendly match in 2012 at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey proved to be an exception.
Brazil’s Romulo gave the Samba Boys the lead in the 23rd minute. However, that lead didn’t last long as Lionel Messi scored twice in three minutes to turn the game around before half-time. Oscar though restored parity in the 56th minute before Hulk put Brazil in front sixteen minutes later. Argentina then hit back to level matters when Federico Fernandez scored in the 76th minute before Messi had the last laugh when he netted to complete his hat-trick in the 85th minute.
The match ended with both teams being reduced to ten men after Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi and brazil’s Marcelo saw red in stoppage time.
(With inputs from AFP)
Stats courtesy: Transfermarkt