Lionel Messi and Argentina had to suffer, but they are through to the Copa America Final and will face Brazil at the Maracanã thanks to a 3-2 win on penalties over Colombia after a thrilling 1-1 draw in Brasília.
Argentina made a fast start, scoring after just six minutes with a fantastic through ball from Giovani Lo Celso to Messi, who set a new Copa America record with his fifth assist of the tournament to find Lautaro Martínez for the opener.
AND JUST LIKE THAT ARGENTINA TAKE THE LEAD— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 7, 2021
Messi sets it up and Lautaro Martínez sends it home pic.twitter.com/zl0X0Yw6c2
As they have done throughout the tournament, Argentina scored early and retreated to defend their lead, but they hadn’t faced a team as talented as Colombia and the Cafeteros went to work, creating plenty of good chances, hitting the woodwork twice and forcing Emi Martínez into some tough saves.
The pressure continued into the first 15 minutes of the second half, and after a long ball from the back Luis Díaz showed his pace to beat Pezzella and find the back of the net for the equalizer.
LUIS DIAZ DOES IT AGAIN!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 7, 2021
This game is TIED pic.twitter.com/AYqxwjQYaG
The final 30 minutes belonged to Argentina, who took control of the ball and started to attack looking for the winner. And they should have won it after a bad mistake from Muñoz gifted Ángel Di María the ball, but somehow, someway, Lautaro Martínez missed one of the easiest chances of his life.
How did this not go in for Argentina?! pic.twitter.com/28q2nfLNDw— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 7, 2021
There was one more big chance for Argentina when Di María found Messi inside the box, and the captain did a glorious turn and quick shot but could only hit the post.
Messi was this close to putting Argentina back in front pic.twitter.com/MM1nUrWFEE— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 7, 2021
There is no extra-time in the Copa America, so went straight to penalties. Juan Cuadrado scored first for Colombia, Messi took responsibility and buried his spot kick, and then it was all about Emi Martínez: the Aston Villa goalkeeper became an instant hero with some amazing trash-talking, A F***ING HIP THRUST, and three penalty saves, the last one against Cardona to seal the deal and send Argentina to Rio.
So there we have it: Brazil vs Argentina at the Maracanã for the Copa America title. The way it should be. Is it Saturday yet?