In form Ederson ready to grasp Copa America opportunity Sat, 10 Jul 2021 16:00:00 +0100-Lionel Messi and Neymar meet in the Maracanã in South American football's showpiece match.
Lionel Messi and Neymar meet in the Maracanã in South American football’s showpiece match
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Brazil and Argentina meet in the final of the Copa America in what represents the glamour match of South American football.
It’s Lionel Messi against Neymar Jr at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the Albiceleste are looking to end to a 28-year title drought. Brazil appear to have improved from two years ago when they lifted the Copa America despite the absence of Neymar and a win this evening will represent a 10th South American title.
Should Lionel Scaloni inspire his side to victory it will be his nation’s 15th title and, crucially, drawing level with record winners Uruguay.
Scaloni insists Argentina are not out for revenge, despite a bitter ending to their semi-final two years ago when Messi accused the organisers of the tournament of favouring the Selecao, which resulted in a fine and a ban: “I don’t believe in revenge, I believe in the work we’ve done, and the project we have here. For sure, tomorrow it will come to a conclusion, this is a final. We are playing our eternal rival and I hope it is a good game and that people can enjoy it. The world will no doubt stop to watch but there is no revenge.”
Follow live updates, analysis and reaction to the Copa America final below:
Argentina 1-0 Brazil
The Albiceleste lead by a goal at the break thanks to Di Maria’s lob.
A much better delivery this time as Richarlison gets forward down the right and whips in a dangerous cross. Montiel has to clear it behind for a corner, just a minute or so before the break.
Marquinhos flicks on the set-piece, but it drifts harmlessly wide of the far post.
Acuna doesn’t foul Richarlison who falls over anyway, then as he gets up, Acuna does foul him. Richarlison then reacts angrily and the ref has to intercede quickly. Brazil could do with a bit more from the attacker up the other end of the pitch – this was near his own corner flag.
Another diagonal ball towards Di Maria sees him run in behind Lodi and he looks like he’s in – but as the ball bounces behind him the winger goes down holding his heel and he needs some treatment before returning.
Argentina keeping Brazil at bay so far whether they go direct through the middle or try and play down the flanks.
Neymar takes the free-kick and shoots, but it’s straight into the wall. Argentina try to set Lautaro away on the counter, but he can’t bring a lofted pass down and seems to have perhaps tweaked a muscle attempting to do so.
A dribble at either end from the two maestros. Messi’s ends in a shot just wide; Neymar’s ends in a foul by Paredes and a yellow card for the PSG midfielder. He’s not happy at being penalised, but his club team-mate easily beat him there.
Di Maria looks for his brace – a thunderous strike from the edge of the box, but blocked and cleared by Brazil. No real response so far from the hosts (but the away team, technically) we have to say.
We’ve barely seen Everton or Richarlison get involved in the final third.
A long-range effort from Casemiro, but it’s again easy for Martinez to deal with in goal for Argentina. He must be feeling extremely confident now, the Aston Villa keeper, that he has established himself as the first-choice at club and country level at long last. What a 15 months or so he has had.
Angel Di Maria has lobbed in the opener! Lodi doesn’t clear a long ball and Di Maria simply runs onto it and lifts the ball over Ederson and into the net!
Richarlison bounces a deflected shot goalwards but it’s easy for Martinez to save. A fairly long, straight pass opened up that chance; in contrast Argentina try to play their way out from the back and give the ball away, almost giving up another chance only for an offside flag to go up.
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Argentina vs Brazil LIVE: Copa America final latest score, goals and … Sat, 10 Jul 2021 16:00:00 +0100-The undisputed first choice at Manchester City, he has often been left waiting in the wings for Brazil, where manager Tite has an embarrassment of riches …
The undisputed first choice at Manchester City, he has often been left waiting in the wings for Brazil, where manager Tite has an embarrassment of riches between the sticks.
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In Ederson and Liverpool’s Alisson, the Selecao boss has two of the best goalkeepers in the world at his disposal, with the latter more often the preferred choice since the City man made his debut in a 3-0 win over Chile in October 2017.
In the four years since, Ederson has won every trophy on offer in England, twice claiming the Premier League’s Golden Glove award, but has only added a further 14 international caps to his collection.
The 27-year-old has had to play a waiting game, as he recently acknowledged.
“We know that in the national team no one has a definitive place,” he said ahead of Brazil’s Copa America quarter-final victory over Chile.
“Opportunities don’t come out of nothing. We have to be prepared. Throughout my career I waited in many occasions and seized it once I had the chance.”
That’s been the case in this year’s Copa America and, ahead of Sunday’s final, there is a sense that Ederson might finally have his moment in the spotlight.
Tite used all three goalkeepers in the group stage, with Alisson starting in the 3-0 win over Venezuela and the 1-1 draw with Ecuador, whilst Weverton was selected for the 2-1 win over Colombia.
The host nation dominated all four group games, but Ederson was the only ‘keeper to emerge with a clean sheet from his efforts in the 4-0 win over Peru, when he made his major tournament debut.
It was enough for him to take the starting spot for both the quarter and semi-finals and, for all he acknowledges nobody’s place is set in stone, it would suggest the man from Osasco is favourite to play in Sunday’s showpiece against Argentina.
It would be thoroughly deserved.
City’s No.31 has taken his outstanding form at club level onto the international stage and, with Brazil beating Chile 1-0 in the last eight and recording the same result as they advanced to the final at the expense of Peru, he is the only goalkeeper yet to concede at the Copa America.
The Premier League’s Golden Glove winner is in the fortunate position of being protected by a team that have been the superior side in the vast majority of their games but, as is the case at City, he has proved his worth when called into action.
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In the quarter-final, when Gabriel Jesus’ sending off saw Brazil under real pressure for the first time in the tournament, Ederson made two smart saves to deny Chile’s Eduardo Vargas, getting down smartly to palm away a low strike and beating clear a powerful drive late in the game.
He was at his best again in the last four, making a crucial stop from Gianluca Lapadula as Peru pushed for an equaliser, meaning he has saved every shot he has faced in the tournament so far.
Indeed, the 27-year-old is enjoying a fine run of form in a Brazil shirt, having kept a clean sheet in each of his last six appearances.
Should Tite elect to start him in the final, then he will face his sternest test against an Argentina forward line boasting the talents of Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez and former team-mate, Sergio Aguero.
However, as Ederson attempts to translate his club success onto the international stage, that potent attacking trio will be expecting a challenge of their own.
He is a man in form and ready to grasp his opportunity.
The Copa America final kicks off at 1:00 (UK) on Sunday 11 July. Find out how you can watch it live.
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– July 10, 2021
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