Brazil 2-0 Argentina
Hosts Brazil are through to the final of the Copa America after a 2-0 semi-final win over Argentina. Thanks to goals from forwards Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino, the Selecao denied their bitter rivals a third consecutive trip to the final.
Once again, Lionel Messi has fallen short in his quest to win his first senior international trophy for his home country, which has left him in a salty mood. The 32-year-old will have to wait again until next year, when Argentina will co-host the 2020 Copa America, to get another shot at a long-awaited title.
As for Brazil, they were the big tournament favourites according to the Copa America 2019 odds, and they are now just one win away from reclaiming the crown they last won in 2007.
Highlights of the game
Brazil very nearly got off to a perfect start as Roberto Firmino forced Franco Armani into an important save after just two minutes. However, the Brazilian forward was clearly offside and the goal wouldn’t have stood if he had beaten the Argentina keeper.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s first true sight of goal came in the 12th minute as Rodrigo De Paul tried his luck with a long-distance strike. It very nearly paid off as his shot went just over the bar, not to mention a leaping Alisson in the Brazil goal.
But on 19 minutes, Brazil drew first blood. Dani Alves found Roberto Firmino in acres of space down the right wing, and the Liverpool star delivered a pinpoint ball to Gabriel Jesus, who picked a perfect time to score his first goal of the tournament with an expert finish.
Tite has continued to start Jesus despite his recent struggles, and the Manchester City man finally repaid the faith his manager had in him with a priceless goal.
Argentina came very close to an equaliser at the half-hour mark when another Manchester City striker — Sergio Aguero — struck the bar with a header. Aguero had Alisson beaten, but his header was just a fraction too high.
Brazil had a golden opportunity to double their lead in the second half. Gabriel Jesus did brilliantly to work his way past the Argentina defence and slipped a great ball through to Philippe Coutinho, but the Barcelona man couldn’t keep his composure and blasted his attempt way over the bar.
Argentina then came back the other way and almost equalised through Lionel Messi. After the ball broke to Messi after Lautaro Martinez’s shot was blocked, the Argentine captain was unlucky to hit the post with his half volley. Messi had another chance from a free-kick, but his shot was easily plucked out of thin air by Alisson.
Messi would be left to rue those missed opportunities as Brazil virtually sealed the win on 71 minutes. Jesus and Firmino were once again involved, but the two forwards switched roles this time around.
Jesus made a brilliant solo run from inside his own half into the Argentina penalty area and unselfishly set up Firmino for a tap-in at the edge of the six-yard box.
That was all she wrote for Messi and Argentina as Brazil saw out the final 20 minutes to book their ticket to the final.
Despite the 2-0 scoreline, it was far from a dominant performance from the hosts. Brazil didn’t create too many Copa America 2019 highlights as they had only four shots in total all game. But three were on target and two went in the net, which speaks to how clinical they were on the night.
That’s in stark contrast to Argentina, who turned on the pressure in the second half and finished with 14 shots in total. However, only two were on target as Messi and co. were simply unable to unlock the Brazilian backline in order to create better opportunities.
For Brazil, it’s off to the Copa America final — their first since 2007 — where they will face the winner of the other semi-final between two-time defending champions Chile and Peru, whom they already smashed 5-0 in the group stage. SBOBET odds will likely have the hosts installed as favourites regardless of who they face in the final.
As for Argentina, preparation for the next year’s Copa America — where they will be co-hosts with Colombia — must begin right away. Based on their performance in this year’s competition, they clearly still have a long way to go in terms of putting the right pieces around Messi.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.