Fred and Brazil set for Argentina showdown
Brazil will face old rivals Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday, in the 2021 Copa America final.
The Selecao – featuring Manchester United midfielder Fred, who has played five of his nation’s six games in the tournament – booked their place in the showpiece event on Tuesday, with Lucas Paqueta’s goal ensuring a 1-0 win over Peru.
And they will be joined by Argentina, who overcame Colombia in the early hours of Wednesday morning, in a match that went all the way to penalties.
🇦🇷🎥 ¡@emimartinezz1 brilló! Mira por otros ángulos los penales de la clasificación de la @afaseleccion a la gran final de la CONMEBOL #CopaAmérica 🏆 #VibraElContinente— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 7, 2021
🇦🇷🎥 Martinez brilhou! Veja por outros ângulos os pênaltis da classificação do Argentina! #VibraOContinente pic.twitter.com/5BwNQWa77y
Talisman Lionel Messi, who is still searching for his first international title, set up Lautaro Martinez for the opener in Brasilia after seven minutes, but Luis Diaz found a second-half equaliser for the Colombians, which sent the game to penalties.
While Messi converted from 12 yards, Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez proved to be the hero, saving from Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona to give Argentina a 3-2 victory on spot-kicks.
Lionel Scaloni’s side will now aim to end a 28-year trophy draught, while the hosts are hoping to repeat their triumph of two years ago, when they overcame Peru 3-1 in the final.
HOW TO WATCH THE GAME
The blockbuster clash in Rio de Janeiro kicks off at 01:00 BST on Sunday 11 July.
Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch live on the BBC iPlayer, Red Button and BBC Sport website, while the game is also being broadcast around the world.
Unlike in the quarter- and semi-finals, where games tied after 90 minutes went straight to penalties, extra time can be played in the final.
This will be the fourth time Brazil have met Argentina in the Copa America final. The Albiceleste won the first, way back in 1937, but Brazilians have fond memories of the 2004 and 2007 finals, both of which, like the upcoming game, had United interest.
Gabriel Heinze and Kleberson contested a 2-2 draw in Peru 17 years ago, with the Selecao winning 4-2 on penalties. Heinze was still a Red three years later, when Argentina were well beaten, 3-0 by their old rivals, in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo. Fred will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of wins for the five-time world champions on Sunday.